Thursday, April 17, 2008

Smoke & Mirrors = Lawsuit

This one liner caught my attention:

Waste Management claims SAP showed it "fake, mock-up simulations" of software in order to snag a contract to rehaul its revenue management system.

Waste Management claims it was a ruse, starting in 2005 with demonstrations in both the U.S. and Germany, involving high-level SAP executives such as SAP Americas President Bill McDermott and former president of technology, Shai Agassi, of what SAP said was mature, industry standard software for the waste industry that did not require customization. Waste Management claimed it later learned the demos were of "fake , mock-up simulations" of software with "false functionality."

Is the concept of honor being eroded in our industry or has it always been somewhat tattered? The example above is a stark example of a software company (allegedly) going too far.

Unfortunately, this is all to often something I hear from customers. Here's a recent personal example from my travels for Quest Software:

We were in a pitched battle to win a particular bank's business. A competitor was involved and was fighting just as hard for the business. In the end, we won the business. The bank called us to tell us we won the business just after they told our competitor that they lost. The bank told us that when they informed our competitor that they lost and began to tell them why that the sales rep was rude and hung up.

I believe that a company's executives and culture set the tone for how graceful a company can be in situations like this. The competitor in our case is headed by an idiot with the morals of a weasel and it permeates their organization - case in point above.

I hate to lose business to a competitor but for me it's an opportunity to try to improve our software or our sales process. It's definitely not the customer's fault.

Semel malus, semper malus. (For that that did not have Fr. O'Keefe for Latin here's the translation: Once bad, always bad.)

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