Wednesday Apr 23, 2014

A Two-Way Street for Software Vendors?


by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize Programs

As I examined software review sites, my search results varied greatly from site to site. Many Oracle products weren’t represented or had very few or no reviews.

“How can that be?” I wondered out loud.

A Two Way Street for Vendors

Oracle offers applications spanning all business functions and over a thousand published customer references. Why aren’t all these products listed on every software review site?

When an IT buyer encounters a similar and counter intuitive situation it can typically be explained by one of the following reasons.

  • Lack of Collaboration—the vendor hasn’t proactively worked on the review provider’s terms to make sure the profile for every product is complete

  • Focus—Very few software review sites can or want to boil the ocean by attempting to cover all products within all categories

  • Vendor Cheerleading—Some vendors are more proactive in encouraging their users to review their products as a form of grass roots awareness marketing

  • Revenue Sources—If a vendor won’t pay for leads, it could adversely impact the likelihood of their products being recommended

A Comprehensive and Balanced Approach

Oracle is successful not because we work closely with software reviewsites but instead because we have helped hundreds of thousands of customers become more successful.

Like it or not, software review sites aren't likely to replace RFPs. But without a doubt, they are replacing some stages of the traditional buying process, especially for lower cost, less complicated products. With so much at stake, caveat emptor still applies – selection managers & IT buyers must be diligent in assessing the veracity, objectivity, and completeness of any online advice they choose to follow.


In this series:

  1. The (R)Evolution of IT Buying Behavior--including steps in the traditional software buying process
  2. The Death of the RFP?- the basics on software review sites
  3. How Software Review Sites Are Like Apples-including how such sites are not all the same
  4. A Two-Way Street for Software Vendors?-including why you won't find every product on every software review site

Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

Monday Mar 31, 2014

“The (R)Evolution in IT Buyer Behavior”


by Jim Lein, Oracle Midsize

To understand how IT buyer behavior is changing, we need to remember where we’ve been. Put yourself in a time machine and imagine life in 1999--not that different to life in 1963 and the office of Don Draper in Mad Men. Men still wore suits to the office every day; women wore dresses. Except I don't think Don had casual Fridays. 

BTW- the image above is inspired by, "Mod Men : The World of Mad Men Through a 21st-Century Lens", by Doug Levy, Staff copywriter and editor for the Shutterstock blog.

Just like Don's office demeanor would not be appropriate today...IT managers shouldn't be making software selection decisions like they did in 1999. Back then, everyone was worrying about Y2K like it was the resurgence of the Black Death.

Back in the last century, Don Draper might have thought it was OK to knock back three martinis at lunch. And sometimes IT managers thought it acceptable behavior to spend a hundred grand and six months picking a software solution. 

Back then, here’s how the IT buying process proceeded:

  1. Appoint a Selection Manager
  2. Gather Requirements
  3. Write An RFP (Requirements Document)
  4. Circulate the RFP
  5. Review Responses
  6. Build a Short List
  7. Vendor presentations
  8. Negotiate
  9. Purchase

The trouble with this software selection process: takes too long, costs too much , and may produce inconsistent results.

IT buyers today have so many more resources at their command--social networks, online peer groups, software review websites, and-most important of all-years of experience. Yet everyone I speak with tells me that RFPs are getting bigger, harder to produce, and harder for vendors to respond to.  Shouldn't the process be easier?

Next up...Enterprise Software Review Sites - What Role Will They Play?”

Next week, ll be sharing what I learned from conversations with the founders of three of the most popular and innovative software review and advice web sites:

In this series:

  1. The (R)Evolution of IT Buying Behavior--including steps in the traditional software buying process
  2. The Death of the RFP?- the basics on software review sites
  3. How Software Review Sites Are Like Apples-including how such sites are not all the same
  4. A Two-Way Street for Software Vendors?-including why you won't find every product on every software review site



Jim Lein

I evangelize Oracle's enterprise solutions for growing midsize companies. I recently celebrated 15 years with Oracle, having joined JD Edwards in 1999. I'm based in Evergreen, Colorado and love relating stories about creativity and innovation whether they be about software, live music, or the mountains. The views expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of Oracle.

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