Vendors Are Not Seeing
the Big Picture"> Respondents stated that vendors regularly:
Over-promise and under-deliver on product capabilities and functionalities;
dont provide adequate factual and technical information;
push pet products and add-ons that obscure true total cost of ownership.
"They dont take the time to see the big picture. They just get enough information to recommend the products they are pushing," said one survey respondent.
Another found fault with "vendors own lack of understanding of how their own products can supply a solution ... so as to make the current pet product being the one you must have."
As an industry, theres no excuse for keeping customers in the dark, Pruitt said.
"Theyre making high-dollar buying decisions that impact the success of their business and their careers," he added. "Customers should be provided with accurate and complete information that enables them to properly evaluate the breadth of solutions available and make the right choice for their storage environment."
Some suggested solution ideas
Pruitt says vendors can take certain steps to ensure that theyre aligning their recommendations to customers business needs.
Accept the heterogeneous storage environment.
Vendors should abandon the fantasy of owning 100 percent of their customers storage environments, according to Pruitt. Instead, they should focus on how to maximize the effectiveness of their products through APIs or management tools that enable interoperability across platforms.
"Standardization is the quantum leap vendors need taketo help customers evolve from managing islands to managing integrated systems," Pruitt said.
Understand how new business rules can disrupt technology adoption.
Pruitt said that customers are in a constant battle to define and execute standardized, repeatable processes across distributed environments in open systems.
"Compliance is a great example. Audits force many storage and data protection teams to interrupt critical planning and operations activities to respond quickly, thereby disrupting processes, increasing errors and burning out their personnel in the effort," Pruitt said.
Pruitt said that, in reality, evolution toward best practices happens more slowly than suits the needs of sales quotas and companies dependent on rapid replacement cycles for success.
"Instead of pushing products, storage vendors should be assisting their customers to achieve maximum, repeatable use of those products in place," he said.
Dont just sell components, sell management.
"If storage vendors really want to see the pace of technology adoption increase, they need to put management tools back into their product roadmaps so they can help customer IT staffs actually do their jobs," Pruitt said.
Survey: Storage growth outpaces PC, server markets. Click here to read more.
"Expecting IT pros to live by command-line interfaces, to build and maintain their own scripts, and to fend for themselves via forums and list mail groups, only serves to widen the gap of distrust between customers and their vendors."
Bocada, which was not visibly associated with the questionnaire, developed a series of eight survey questions for this project.
Bocada makes patented, agentless software that provides security for data that can scale for small businesses to large enterprises.
IBM is its largest client. Others include Amgen, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Deutsche Bank, SBC, Sprint, Unilever and Xerox.
Bocada is privately held. More information on the company can be found here.
The entire survey, in PDF form, can be obtained here.
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