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Half Truths, Falsehoods, and flat out Lies. THIS is why I personally pay for our Competitors Accounts

Mat Newman  March 29 2019 00:12:48
Figure 1: Have you read this?


Today was a very interesting day.

We began with a meeting that we were totally prepared for with C-Level executives for high-level discussions - given that the agenda was shared with us weeks ago - before launching into an ideas workshop with LOB. So of course, we had already "Think, Prepare, Rehearse" (or more accurately, "Thought, Prepared and Rehearsed") - one of the "9" in 1-3-9 - extensively for the meeting and workshop.

The 20,000 foot overview provided to the executives set the scene, and the workshop was supposed to be an ideas forum and discussion session with LOB on how IBM's Collaboration Solutions could help the customer in their digital transformation.

We had prepared use-cases and scenarios for the customer - specific to their industry - that aligned with IBM's Collaboration Framework and Business Patterns; that have proven so successful in so many companies who utilise IBM's entire collaboration suite.

A few minutes into the workshop, I noticed that one of the attendees had a print-out that they were consulting, making notes upon, and placing checks against line items on that sheet. Unlike the rest of the attendees, this was "Someone", who I was not familiar with (this is a VERY long term, High-Profile, loyal IBM Collaboration customer, whom I have been meeting with regularly for a number of years now!). During the introductions, this person identified themself as the person who was responsible for making recommendations on the future direction of this customers Collaboration Platform to senior management. I was earlier intrigued regarding the new person that was among the team, noted it, but put that aside to focus on the task at hand.

We had a lively discussion, focussed on capabilities and outcomes, but the thing that struck me was that "Someone" kept coming back to features/functions/ and their apparent check-list, rather than concentrating on business value and return-on-investment (ROI).

And then came the question that really raised the hackles.

"Can you tell me about your DLP (Data Leak Prevention) and IRM (Information Rights Management) capabilities?"

Yes, I am familiar with that question, it comes up in every competitive discussion that we have with our customers regarding their - current/or future - collaboration platform. Every. Single. Day!

For some reason (and it really does bug me), our competitors - somehow - have the impression that IBM knows nothing about security or data protection, and constantly use those points in competitive discussions with our customers.

So the gloves came off.

I asked, politely, if the rest of group would mind if we hijacked the workshop for a few minutes (ok, it was almost an hour!) to address the points that "Someone" had been asking regarding our competitors offerings and their check-list.

I began, as I always do in this situation, with a simple question: "I don't tell lies. My Mother would kill me, and you would no longer believe in me as a trusted advisor if you ever found out that anything I am about to say or show you is incorrect. Can I please show you some public information, and use our competitors software to demonstrate why IBM is different?"

After agreement, we continued.

I had noticed, that the check-list that "Someone" was working from had headings that were clearly visible (they were printed in bold, I have good eye-sight and can read upside down, could see the check-marks, although the details were too small for me to read, so I asked "Someone" to read out the bullet points).

It was a good list. Whomever had prepared it, had obviously done their homework regarding the IBM Collaboration Portfolio - however - they (as usual) seem to have completely forgotten about IBM MaaS360, DOCS and Protector, as most of their "competitive advantages" are not only totally negated by these offerings, they are - for the most part - left in the dust!

So we worked through the list. We identified (using our competitors own applications) why they are able to make such grandiose claims; eg: "Enterprise file sharing", "Enterprise Social Networking", etc , but the individual "applications" they provide have so many cross-overs and have competing functionality (which do NOT co-exist with one another!) are actually the biggest downfall of their platform. And we explored public resources (Gartner, Forrester, etc) to see exactly where they rate on some of those capabilities (Hint: They don't even appear in the list for DLP or IRM - despite claiming that they have 'Industry Leading Solutions"!).

It's interesting to provide a customer with a "Check-List" that says "we" do "Enterprise File Sharing", "Enterprise Social Networking", etc , but then to provide 8 different ways to share a file, where many of those "Apps" or "Silo's" do not integrate with one another ... Well ... that's the difference. If you focus on "Apps", no wonder you have a bucket full of check-lists to go to market with.

And then there's the Document-Spreadsheet-Presentation discussion that this all stems from ... If you rely on vendor lock-in because "everyone" uses your Word processor and file format ... I've been there before.

It reminds me of 1994, and the sudden demise of Lotus 1-2-3.

Be careful where one's laurels rest.

Tomorrow might be another day.

And there is a reason I personally pay for a subscription to your service. Sometimes customers don't believe until they see first hand.

Half Truths, Falsehoods, and flat out Lies. THIS is why I personally pay for access to our Competitors Accounts.

And the Gartner document in this blog banner image, well ... It's a scary read for anyone considering an alternative to IBM Collaboration Solutions (if you even knew IBM did Collaboration!). I would recommend you pay the money and spend a couple of hours looking through it's contents.









Comments

1Nicki  03/30/2019 1:13:00  
Half Truths, Falsehoods, and flat out Lies. THIS is why I personally pay for our Competitors Accounts

I really wish someone had had THIS discussion without our c-level's a couple of years' back. :P

We are now on that "other" platform, my users are NOT happy, and (IMO) we're less secure. :/

2Lars Berntrop-Bos  03/30/2019 2:50:36  
Half Truths, Falsehoods, and flat out Lies. THIS is why I personally pay for our Competitors Accounts

Share the list?

3Mat Newman

03/30/2019 18:26:29  Half Truths, Falsehoods, and flat out Lies. THIS is why I personally pay for our Competitors Accounts

@1, Nicki: I feel your pain mate. That is a story I have heard now so many times. The grass definitely is not always greener, and it's an expensive lesson and mistake that most customers are not willing to admit to.

@2, Lars: Unfortunately, my employers guidelines do not permit me to do that (otherwise this blog would have been more specific!). Tony Olliviers session from THINK2019 did cover many of the points that were discussed though. You can find a recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfvO_NU7LpY

Mat Newman IBM Champion

Mat Newman

THE IBM Notes (formerly Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. IBMer. Views are my own.

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Mat Newman

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