Thursday, September 28, 2006
Vendors who understand the needs of large enterprises...
The folks from PacketMotion paid me a visit yesterday. They acknowledged upfront that they were not there in terms of a sales call but wanted to understand how they could add more value to their product so that it was attractive in the long run to large enterprises.
Our conversation started around the notion that we acknowledge that startups always are better at what they do over incumbent vendors and therefore competing on just features alone may not result in a win. Many large enterprises have hundreds of IT vendors they do business with and it takes a lot of energy to manage all these relationships. Smaller firms never really think about how much work it is for us enterprise folk to work with them and need to be thoughtful as to how to make it easier on us vs simply thinking about the perspective of all about them. I would suspect that Internet startups who engage Brenda Michelson of Elemental Links would get great insight into the mind of EAs.
In terms of features, the one thing that I am really big on is compliance to the XACML specification. Do you know how many different ways we within our enterprise can specify the notion of a policy? Do you really think I need yet another one? I am surprised that XACML isn't receiving more coverage from analyst firms. For example, I would love to see Anne Thomas-Manes of the Burton Group note that many products she covers from JBoss to BEA to IBM to Mercury Interactive are building in XACML support into their application stacks. So far, XACML seems to only be covered by security types.
We did have a brief conversation on analyst firms and my perspective on them. I do believe that all vendors I interact with should pay their fees to the large firms regardless of the value they bring. Not paying causes problems for us. It is easier within a large enterprise to acquire new technology when an indepedent third-party says it is a leader than when there is only your own evidence to support. Likewise, I know that my peers at work are incredibly brilliant and can see solutions in the marketplace before others but the real key is that we need to also choose products that are sustainable and will be used by other large enterprises.
I wonder as a sidenote, what it will take to get the folks over at Intalio to pay the fees to large analyst firms? I would also love to see the folks over at LogicBlaze do the same thing as the ESB space where CapeClear and Sonic have been listed as leaders in a category where their product isn't even mentioned is somewhat suspect...
Anyway, I guess that some vendors get that it is OK to talk with us enterprise folks even if you don't have the intent on selling to us. We can provide you with insight that you may or may not get through other channels. So, what's in this for me? This is simple, I am interested in having choices within the marketplace. Choice causes price of solution to go down which helps make the TCO of IT go lower.
If there are other vendors who aren't necessarily interested in selling to me but would like an enterprise perspective, do not hesitate to leave a comment and let the dialog begin...
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