Software selection: Who’s cool and who’s the fool?

Software selection: Who’s cool and who’s the fool?

Hipsters look cool. But that’s all. They’re good at it. That’s why they’re hipsters.

Hipsters know how to look, how to walk, what shoes to wear, places to be seen, habits to adopt, coffee to drink, names to drop. They have a kind of fetish for image – they look cool even if they’re not cool but that’s what floats their boat and I’m cool with that. Real cool people on the other hand, don’t try to look cool, they just are cool. And there are people who aren’t cool and don’t want to be cool. I’m cool with that too. What I’m not cool with is the people who are not cool, who think it’s easy to look cool. They try but they fail. They’re like a teacher that challenges their students to a dance battle. That’s not cool.

Purchasing Insight logoSome technology vendors are very cool. They just get on with cloud and social media and 21st century stuff like its business as usual – because it is business as usual. They don’t make a big song and dance because they’re offer SaaS – of course they offer SaaS. Why make a big marketing play of it – it’s how things are done in the 21st century. Then there’s those who are actually not that cool but why should they be? They got a solution that works in the mundane, real world – a real world that isn’t always geared up to be cool.

And then there’s the others. Let me describe what it is to be uncool in the software vendor world.

You have a software solution that works but it uses an archaic architecture. It still works but if you had to start again from scratch you’d do it very differently. Instead of holding your head high and proudly vouching for the merits of old school you pretend your solution is new school. You say it’s cloud when it’s not. You play a social media game but you hire college students to write your blogs. And you make snarky, anonymous remarks on industry blogs not realizing your identity is crystal clear to even the least technical blog administrator. In short, you just don’t get it.

Selecting software is not about selecting what is cool but what is cool today is often established mainstream tomorrow. Vendors that pay lip service to modernity (and in software terms, modernity evolves in months and years, not decades and centuries) will not be able to future proof your business.

When it comes to selecting enterprise software, the selection criteria should prioritize your defined business requirements but if you want to future proof your solution, consider adding another selection crieria – for cool.

Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin

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