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Craig Schiff

I am very excited about this opportunity to share my perspectives and experience in my BeyeNETWORK Blog. For those of you who may not have read my articles and newsletters over the past few years, I hope you will appreciate a vendor-independent perspective on all things related to Business Performance Management (BPM). I focus on key topics organizations should consider throughout their BPM project lifecycle, from early stage requirements definition and justification, key measure development, vendor selection and finally, successful deployment and rollout. Of course, market trends and vendor updates will also be part of the mix. Please stop by on a regular basis to see what's new, and to make this interactive, please share your opinions. If you have a specific question, contact me directly at cschiff@bpmpartners.com.

About the author >

Craig, President and CEO of BPM Partners, is a pioneer in business performance management (BPM). Craig helped create and define the field as it evolved from business intelligence and analytic applications into BPM. He has worked with BPM and related technologies for more than 20 years, first as a founding member at IMRS/Hyperion Software (now Hyperion Solutions) and later cofounded OutlookSoft where he was President and CEO.

Craig is a frequent author on BPM topics and monthly columnist for the BeyeNETWORK. He has led several jointly produced webcasts with Business Finance Magazine including "Beyond the Hype: The Truth about BPM Vendors," the three-part vendor review entitled "BPM Xpo" and "BPM 101: Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Business Performance Management." He is a recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. BPM Partners is a vendor-independent professional services firm focused exclusively on BPM, providing expertise that helps companies successfully evaluate and deploy BPM systems. Craig can be reached at cschiff@bpmpartners.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Craig's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Just in time for Halloween, the BPM vendors are creating their own band of zombies. More specifically, their dead products are being brought back to 'life'. Killing a product in the first place is often a difficult decision for a vendor. The internal staff that helped create and market the product may be reluctant to let it go. Some customers may not want to see the product they purchased disappear, even if its replacement has better features and performance.The reality though, is that it is the right decision. If you are releasing a major new replacement product you need to re-allocate resources and start consolidating customers on the new platform. The significant merger and acquisition activity of last year left several vendors with overlapping and redundant product sets. The best of the vendors officially killed off the weakest links and worked on enhancing and moving forward with the strongest in each category. The worst of the vendors also have dead products, they just didn't announce it for fear of a customer revolt. Which brings us back to the walking dead.

Whether its announced or not, a product is dead when the vendor stops selling and marketing it. The best staff moves on and a skeleton crew of more junior staffers is left to fix major bugs and answer the support calls. This staff will dwindle further over time until no one is left. The product itself, although still useable, is frozen in time. There will be no enhancements. Future roadmaps laid out when it was purchased will not be delivered. It will not be updated to work with the latest operating systems, third-party applications, and accounting requirements. It will not grow into new areas as the rest of the BPM products are now doing. For these reasons, customers should start planning to move to a replacement product from their vendor or others as soon as they see the writing on the wall. That's where the zombie part comes in. It seems that some customers do not want to leave their current product no matter how their vendor tries to push and prod them. As a matter of fact, if the vendor pushes too hard they will move to a new product, just not from that vendor. Seeing the real risk of losing a customer to a competitor some creative salesmen are bringing back the dead. If they become aware that an owner of one of their dead products is considering other vendors for their replacement, they will pull out all the stops. Even though the vendor's own website may specify a date when all support will be pulled for a particular product, the salesman will offer an extension. Anything to buy time and keep the customer from going to a competitor. Its still a dead product though, even if one poor guy at the vendor gets stuck taking support calls for another year. Sleazy tactics like this should really prod you to move on even faster - to the competition.


Posted October 30, 2008 12:53 PM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

1 Comment

Care to name names Craig? Or is this a general trend to be wary of that affects many vendors?

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