Another day, another vendor

Despite talk of consolidation, there is still an overwhelming number of vendors to choose between. As a buyer, how do you navigate a crowded marketplace and avoid risky bets?

Not a week goes by when I don’t discover several new vendors, be it marketing automation, digital experience, enterprise search, social intranet or whatever. Many of these have actually been around for a while, have a reasonable amount of employees and a long list of references.

You may not find the lesser known vendors at trade shows or in the analyst reports, but several of our J. Boye members rely on vendors which are relatively unknown on a global scale. Often these smaller players are not only viable alternatives to the global leaders, but are also better equipped to meet local requirements. And they also tend to come with a significantly lower price tag.

No matter which vendor you are considering, well-known or unknown, a key recommendation from our decade of research into selecting the right vendor, is that you avoid a scoring methodology. Comparing say Adobe or Sitecore to a local Austrian vendor will never be an apples-to-apples comparison and the vendors are likely use many fancy industry buzzwords. Look beyond the marketing by staying focused on your own requirements and evaluation criteria.

If you are concerned about risk and think that the local vendor may not be as safe a choice as say IBM, Microsoft or Oracle, I recommend that you connect with peers and learn about their experiences with vendors. Which ones do they favour? Which ones do they avoid? You can also post your question on the J. Boye LinkedIn group, which is a free and moderated forum with over 2,000 members.

Rather than spending too much time researching the marketplace and listening to sales pitch after sales pitch, my advice is that you insist on real dialogue from the outset. Take control of the agenda and tell the vendor clearly what you expect. Also, listening skills on both sides of the table is key!