by Thomas Wailgum

Bringing Down the House of Enterprise Software

Oct 06, 2009
Enterprise Applications

Like casinos, enterprise software vendors will always win. But a new group is stepping up to the table to help customers.

For many enterprise software buyers, a nagging feeling that the deck has always been stacked in favor of the vendors selling the software became all the more noticeable last fall. Market crashes tend to adjust business focus rather quickly.

Large software vendors are, essentially, casino owners. They make the chips. They make the rules of the game. And as much as they talk about “taking care of the customer,” they know the odds are so heavily tilted in their favor that they’re always going to win.

When their customers win, the vendors win. But when their customers lose, the vendors still win.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough voices in the business world saying: “That’s not right, or fair, or logical.” My analysis on the inherent problems that still haunt ERP software environments (Why ERP Is Still So Hard) proves that CIOs and their business peers remain largely dissatisfied—which is the sanitized, “PG-13” version of that frustration.

There are, of course, strategies for enterprise software buyers to employ against the House and win a hand or two—or, perhaps more realistically, not get fleeced as much as in the past.

With that sentiment in mind, a small band of brothers has formed to offer a voice of dissent, of reason, against software vendors’ practices that frustrate and flummox today’s enterprise. They call themselves the Enterprise Advocates, and their mission is simply to “promote the interest of the enterprise tech buy side in the buyer-vendor relationship.”

So who are these self-described Jiminy Crickets of the enterprise tech world?

For sure, they are Davids to the software industry’s Goliaths—but their collective experiences and voices amount to a worthy slingshot.

There’s: Ray Wang, who is a partner with Altimeter Group and former Forrester analyst; Vinnie Mirchandani, founder of Deal Architect and former Gartner analyst; Frank Scavo, who is managing partner at Strativa; Oliver Marks, a partner at the Dachis Group; and Dennis Howlett, who has nearly four decades of experience in financial IT systems and is a popular ZDNet blogger. (You can read their full bios here.)

For too many years, big enterprise software vendors have been—just like the casinos—the only game in town. Look out, Big ERP: There are new players stepping up to the table.

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