Some time ago, I made a post here about the levels of configuration and the misconceptions around them (Validation and Configuration: The Misconception About the Three Types). What led-up to this post were conversations with customers and the continued realization that customers are still not being educated on what the term “configuration” means in our industry.
Behind the scenes, I have conversations with customers new to our industry, just buying their first LIMS or ELN, who have either not been well-educated on what “configuration” means or been misled. As frustrating as I find it that we use the word “configuration” to mean anything from pressing a single button to get something to work up to something that has thousands of lines of code in it, I find it even more frustrating that we continue to think it’s okay to mislead customers in this fashion.
Behind the scenes, I hear about the products that were implemented and take as many people to manage the implementations as they have people to use the systems. While some of this is due to customers’ lack of understanding regarding how to manage their requirements in order to build a modest system that is more practically maintained, a lot of it is the people guiding them and their inexperience or unwillingness to try to guide these customers.
Behind the scenes, software vendors tell me about their products, how they stack up against other products and where they have their own frustrations. They have more honest discussions than they can have with customers because it’s difficult to speak honestly about a competitor’s shortfalls without sounding as if they’re just “against” their competitors.
Some software vendors are interested in hearing some of this, others aren’t. If you know too much about what is negative about your product, it becomes harder to sell it. Thus, some vendors take the position that anyone that has anything negative to say is breaking down that wall and they don’t want to know. This actually does help some of the vendors sell but with others, the negatives are so important, that they will not be able to turn around the problems they have.