04 Feb The truth about some vendors
I’m longer in the tooth than I’d like to be but it does mean I’ve had time to gain a wide range of experience dealing with IT solution providers. But there’s some things I know that I just can’t share.
In my view there are only two types of vendor – those that keep you awake at night and those that help you sleep. It rarely boils down to functionality or price – it’s about peace of mind. With some, going to a meeting is like going into a boxing ring. At the end of each round, even when it’s a tie, you both go back to your corner bloodied and bruised.
But there are other vendors who are the polar opposite. They’re a delight to deal with. They bring you solutions rather than problems. They always over deliver. Exceeding expectations seems to be nothing more than their modus operandi – business as usual – it’s just what they do.
In the past I’ve said great things about businesses I admire. But if they’re sponsors of Purchasing Insight, there’s a risk that I get accused of bias. I’ve even found myself overcompensating by being a little too flattering of non-sponsor vendors, subconsciously trying to demonstrate independence. But anyone who takes the time to examine it will know that Purchasing Insight offers an objective, albeit gently critical view of the P2P landscape. We prefer to see vendors through a positive lens – it’s way too easy to be critical – and when we do call out poor practice, we try to do so in a constructive manner. But if we say something great about a vendor with a banner ad over on the right, then we’re seen, by some, as biased.
It’s a dilemma – so we’ve stopped. We’ve stopped saying good things, especially about our sponsors and instead, we’re going to let someone else say it – the customer.
Take a look at this very short video made by Taulia. The guy in the video is Steve Richards. I met him just over a year ago. He’s from Coca Cola Bottling, one of Taulia’s customers and he says something very interesting about his customer experience.
Notice, he’s not saying anything about Taulia’s product – he’s sharing his user experience. I know exactly where he’s coming from. His comments right at the end are especially interesting. I’ve had this feeling about an solution provider regrettably few times in my career.
For the purposes of full disclosure, Taulia are sponsors of Purchasing Insight. I should also say I like Taulia. I think their products are outstanding and their people are great. But pay no attention to what I say – I might be biased. Instead, pay attention to their customers.
Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin