Try It!

March 18, 2009

Here’s a radical idea for you. Don’t buy it without trying it. I repeat. Don’t buy it without trying it.

It? What? A car or an iPod, right? No, I mean an enterprise-level application. If you can’t get a copy and set it up, don’t buy it. And I don’t mean a limited-functionality demo or a look-and-feel demo or maybe a video of the application. I mean try it and see if you like it.

I know. That’s impossible, right? Any vendor will tell you so. No human being can just get a copy of an app, install it, set up the data, and see whether it will work for them. It’s too difficult. It’s too complicated. It takes too long. It requires too much expertise. You need too much help. It would be a support nightmare. It’s completely impractical. It’s pointless.

I’ve heard all these things from the vendors. And they must be right, right?

Oh yes, I forgot all the things they don’t say. It would be too discouraging; the buyer hate the software. The buyer would screw up the implementation and then blame the vendor. The buyer would find problems and insist on their being fixed before he bought. The buyer might even compare capabilities with another vendor’s and use the comparison to drive down the price.

Or the biggest nightmare of all. The competitors get hold of the software, distort, exaggerate, and lie about what they found, and convince an all-too-gullible customer not to buy us and buy them again.

Such bad behavior. What vendor would even imagine this kind of thing?

All wrong. Every bit of it, at least from the customers’ point of view. It is possible to set up a company fairly quickly. And if you can’t, that’s a problem. If you don’t like it, that’s a problem. If something doesn’t work, that’s a problem. If it does something worse than some competitor, that’s a problem. It’s the kind of problem that you should find before you buy.

So try it. And if they won’t let you. Go somewhere else.

But oh, before you do, let me know who it was. And I’ll post the list here.

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