Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vendors need to focus on providing practical (real) advice

Since the end of last year - I have had the opportunity to talk to a number of CIOs, Chief Architects and business executives for large enterprises and one of the constant frustration I have heard from the end-user community (IT organizations) is the lack of practical (real) advice from the vendor community.

Following is an example of a simple Business scenarios:
  • In order to increase it's revenue Business Operations would like to learn more about the customer - to identify opportunities for cross-sell/up-sell.
  • They approach their partners - typically their preferred SI and/or their preferred software vendors.
  • Depending on the vendor (including SI - their resell relationship with the ISV) they would recommend a Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence, EAI and/or Master Data Management Solution. In addition, they will also be willing to guarantee, typically as a fixed bid, implementation within weeks/months (typically 3 to 6 months).
  • Business buys into it - spend the money and a year later had not yet achieved the end-result they were promised.
Problem:
  • Vendors focus on delivering an IT solution (generate the revenue and move on to the next project) instead of solving the business problem
Recommended Approach:
  • As part of every engagement - both the SI and ISVs need to insist on conducting a Business workshop (prior to starting the IT implementation).
  • Provide real-practical advices - example: for a customer master the vendor typically looks for decision from the business to provide them with direction on where to add the customer - Lead Management, Opportunity Management or Order Management. As the vendors have done multiple implementations - shouldn't they know the best practices in the vertical and recommend the approach?
  • SI typically have separate organizations that deal with business transformations and IT (CRM/ERP )implementation teams. Shouldn't every engagement have folks from both the practices at the customer site during the initial stages? Agreed the engagement cost will be a bit higher for the customer - but the value received will be substantial greater than the up-front cost. I for one - would be willing to pay. My problem was that no one approached me with such a proposal. However, I was lucky - my CIO recommended (and funded) that I have a full-time architect(s) from an SI on my team.
Thanks to SOA - I am starting to see changes in the SI engagement models. They seem to these days more focus on Architecture & Approach first - before bringing in their implementers. However, I am yet to see this transition happening in the ISV community.

The above example is based on my own experience and the case study is available here. As the case study indicates - I had to solve the same problem twice. First implement and learn from my mistakes and then repeat it again later. If we had real advice - we would have got it right the first time.

- Yogish
Post a Comment

Key Learnings - Using EDA to implement the core SOA principle of "loose-coupling"!!!

A lot has been said about how SOA and EDA are unique "architecture styles". It seems like only one or the other architectural prin...