By Kem Butller-Oracle on Jul 10, 2011
By Kem Butler - Oracle JD Edwards, Communications Director
In all my years of experience in business (and they are considerable at this point!) there is one constant and predominate thing I have noticed, regardless of industry, product or service in question. This “thing” is the fact that nearly every prospective customer wants and demands that the vendors provide pre-purchase references. I don’t blame them. Given the magnitude and high risk/reward equation tied to the purchase of ERP and other Enterprise software it’s perfectly logical to companies require references.
What is not logical is that often the very companies that have the most strident reference requirements are the least willing to act as a reference once the time comes. It’s my opinion that customers that have requested and/or demanded references as a prerequisite for purchase have an obligation to reciprocate, assuming the implementation has resulted in business benefits.
But looking beyond any “obligation” factor, acting as a reference has benefits that you may not have considered……
1. Software vendors constantly need to invest in on-going maintenance and development. One key element in our investment decision making process is an evaluation of which products are generating a healthy return on investment. Assuming that the product(s) you use are serving you well, acting as a reference helps to ensure the products continues to be successful in the market and are profitable for the vendor, thus increasing the likelihood of additional vendor enhancement and innovation, and an extended product lifecycle.
2. Oracle has a long standing policy that we do not provide monetary compensation for our customers that act as product references. But the compensation comes in the form of relationships and influence, two elements that are often invaluable in the world of business. And while Oracle values each and every customer and honors the investments that our customer make in licenses and maintenance dollars, there are times when influence and relationships can and do have an impact on which customer requested enhancements make it to the top of the list.
3. Collaborate for mutually beneficial marketing, promoting your business and brand. It’s always good to have your company’s name and your business promoted publically in positive light. Reference customers may work with Oracle to release joint press release(s) and to publish customer snapshots and/or videos highlighting the benefits of their implementation, partner support, products, etc. These materials are widely used by the Oracle and/or partner sales organizations and are available for the public’s viewing www.oracle-DOT-com. See examples here.
4. Customers that participate in the reference program may be nominated into various award programs, sponsored Oracle and others by which also can also result in positive name and brand exposure for winning companies company.
5. Reference customers are often given preference when product and strategic customer councils are formed. These councils are consist of a limited number of key and strategic customers that have opportunities to interact directly with Oracle’s business and development organizations, providing a great opportunity to share your needs, insights and visions that are driving your business and industry today and in the future.
So take a moment and consider becoming a JD Edwards reference account. After all, it’s only logical. If you would like to explore the customer reference program(s) and opportunities, please email either anna.matthews-AT-oracle.com or Ioana.Roseanu-AT-oracle.com, or fill out this short registration form to have someone form Oracle references contact you. Thanks in advance for your interest!