Cutting Through Vendor Noise

In a tough economy, software vendors pull out all stops to get your business. As Trevor Perry explains this often results in so much noise that the vendors hurt themselves as much as they hurt your ears. His article is full of useful tips for cutting through the noise to locate what value the vendor has to offer. This is a must read article for everyone including, perhaps especially including, the vendors themselves.

A quick example is Perry’s approach to technobabble as expressed in vendor claims about Service Oriented Architectures (SOA):

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) also suffers from this kind of confusion. For example, the “A” in SOA stands for “Architecture,” yet you can find vendors selling SOA “software”—none of which is actually software for architects. The concept of Service Orientation is one that will become an inherent trait of all future IT and applications, regardless of its name and misrepresentation by vendors, because it’s the next logical evolution in IT development. You may have SOA already, but you may not understand what it is—or that you’re actually doing it—because of vendor noise.

His recommendation is straightforward:

Your response should be this: Find the detailed definitions of the buzzwords and terminology (preferably from the vendor site), research the concepts being proffered, then re-read the marketing.

There is much, much more in the article including problems with marketing speak, branding, celebrities etc. In each case Perry includes a recommendation for cutting the noise to get to the point. And what is the point?

The beneficiary of the right choice in product selection should be your company.

This puts the responsibility for effective communication of how a product benefits your company squarely on the vendor, while giving you techniques to help the vendor reach the needed clarity. Once you select your vendor you can use these techniques to focus the implementation on what benefits your company as well.

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