Last summer, Brian Sommer over on ZDNet ran a great post on how to easily identify the up and coming innovative vendors in the space. All you have to do is look at who the big established players are trash talking! After all, if the company isn’t innovative, they have nothing to fear from the competitor, and will say something like “yes they also have a solution suite that could potentially help you, but” … “they are missing these key features that we have found to be instrumental to customer success” or “we have done more implementations in your space” or “we have a more mature professional services organization” or “we fit better with the platforms and processes that you have in place” or “we are more committed to customer success” or “we have won more awards proving the maturity of our solution” and just shrug them off. But if the company is innovative and poses a real threat, they will try to trash-talk it out of your candidate pool. And they will use predictable language like “what they are offering is a cool feature, not an application” or “they’re inconsequential” or “their solution is immature and / or will never catch on“. These phrases are your first clue that this is a vendor you should be looking at. It might not be mature enough to meet all of your needs today, but maybe if you can bolt on the innovative new features they are offing to your existing ERP, you can, with a little elbow grease, extract more value and, as the company grows, be the first to take advantage of their new features and applications as an early adopter preferred customer.
And not only did Brian do a great job of pointing this out, he also created a great table that summarizes all of the common phrases an established, fairly un-innovative, company will use to trash talk an innovative startup in its infancy, a rapidly growing new competitor, and an upstart that’s all grown up now. And then, to complete the picture, he also points out what they say when the decide to acquire the grown up upstart because it has a more innovative solution.
Click on the image to be taken to the full table, and click this link to read Brian’s full post on the Software Smack Talk Playbook. It’s awesome.