Our industry’s magazines do post some number of articles about software products, even though customers of the software might not think there are enough of these articles and, actually, many of the articles aren’t worth reading. However, I don’t think I’ve seen any articles in the big magazines (or even the smaller journals) about the services vendors in our industry.
Where Are They?
Consider this: the services performed on these software products tend to represent the greatest percentage of cost for many laboratory informatics software implementations and the place where most of the overrun and failure takes place. That being said, and the fact that the services topics are the most important topics for articles (e.g., how to do a product selection, how to manage a project), doesn’t it seem odd that no-one has tried to profile any of the services vendors? Shouldn’t customers care significantly about the services they’re getting that will more likely be the thing that kills their project than the software will be?
My own company has been profiled in one or two local journals. It makes sense that local papers or periodicals want to cover local businesses. But one might think that our industry’s bigger magazines would want to cover the bigger services vendors just as they cover the bigger software vendors. I don’t think I’ve seen any such articles, though.
Even when articles cover software products, where a software vendor also has a services group, articles seldom cover that part of the software vendor’s offerings to discuss what services need to be and can be delivered along with the software product.
On the Other Hand
On the other hand, talking about what the services vendors provide is a shorter list than what we need to cover when we discuss the software functionality. These articles could be short in that most services vendors provide things like project management, workflow analysis, validation, or other such services. For most of us, there’s a list on our web-site.
One could argue that discussing whether a services vendor’s services are good could be the challenge and could be what fills the article. I’d disagree – when articles are written about the software products, the articles aren’t necessarily focusing on how good the software is, but more toward the features provided and the markets served by it. I’d argue that we’d never write an article about the quality of a services vendor, either.
Don’t Look at Me
But don’t look at me to write these types of articles. As a services vendor, I want you to buy my services. Obviously, I’m not going to write about competing services vendors to promote them. I’m just pointing-out the gap.