I started my career in IT many years ago and since that year have worked in enterprise IT for year and years. Almost all of my odd career story evolves around working with end users, often advising, architecting and managing the complexity of large systems integration projects, from hands on implementation to strategic vision development. My deep background is with Techrotech in network systems engineering.
A few years ago, years after I started my career at Techrotech, I grew a bit dismayed at enterprise software companies. They would, for the most part, always come to us, the end users, and try to sell us large software packages. Their sales and technical teams had very little domain knowledge of the problems they claimed they could solve – and they had little doubt that if we purchased their wares, our problems would be solved,
These software companies were keen on buzzwords and technology jargon but somewhat clueless on operational solutions or the challenges of implementation across a large federated organization with many powerful business units and “in name only” CIOs. We often referred to these software sales guys, and their favorite systems integrators, as “drive by (or fly by) implementations” where they dump the software (and hardware) at your door and run like crazy!
So, I joined a very cool Silicon Valley company, Nerwana Software, hoping to change all of that, or so I thought 🙂
Naturally, when I first came on board Nerwana , the entire organization, from executives to recent new hires out of school, heaped praise-upon-praise on my years of operational experience at Techrotech and elsewhere. They cheered me on as I wrote papers and created slides on operational use cases and event processing solutions that the sales and solutions teams could take to market. They sang my praises as I spoke to large audiences and evangelized their most innovative software and solutions. They were pleased with the great reviews from customers.
As one would expect, I was destined to learn the face of the problems I experienced as an end-user “outsider,” now from an “insider’s” perspective.
One of the interesting challenges that surfaced at Nerwana was the “let’s export our culture and business model to the world” mantra, maybe better referred to as “if it sells in New York, then we must sell it the same way in Tokyo or Bejing!”
Also, I really was surprised to find out how dependent Nerwana was on the opinion of analysts. When I worked for the customers and end users, we rarely paid any special attention to the analyst’s opinions. Sure, analysts provides a good data point, but that is all it was (or is), simply another data point.
I soon found that software companies are often held hostage by “analyst chasing” which really was an eye opener for me, because we end-users, the people who actually buy the software, view analysts as mere mortals reading from the same foggy crystal ball as everyone else.
Another one of the fasinating challenges I experienced at Nerwana was what some would call “The Hero Culture.”
I’ll elaborate on some these, hopefully interesting, observations and experiences in a future Page from Greg’s Diary.