Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor recently hosted a virtual fireside chat. It’s something I have encouraged him to do in the past. It was only a half an hour or so and one of my analyst colleagues said it had a feel of “declaring victory after 5 years”. I passed on feedback to his AR team that he should do similar every quarter or so, and pick a different topic to drill deeper into – an industry or geography or a specific product area.
I miss Stan Swete’s updates every time Workday had a new release (they are up to release 31). He would crisply march through new features and also give a quick update on the state of the company.
What I am getting at is I would like vendors to do more phone briefings, not just present at longer in-person events. This is especially true of smaller vendors like Zoho, FinancialForce, Ultimate and many others. It is not that easy for analysts to fly to day-long events for each.
While I would prefer these in a group call, I am happy to take individual briefings as well. With the caveat that these are briefings to add to analyst body of knowledge, not a commitment to write something right away on the briefing topic.
The other feedback I have received from several clients is how removed events are from product reality. There are 50 shades of grey when it comes to features and maturity. What they present to us in analyst briefings under NDA is often are not available to purchase till 3-4 years later. What is shown in user conferences is 1-2 years out. What you get in response to RFPs and competitive evaluation demos is a more realistic representation of current state of product. It is only during implementation that you realistically understand maturity of that release and the quality of implementation resources familiar with that functionality. Finally, it is only when customers periodically talk to each other about their experiences do you get a feel for the real quality of a particular release. That’s another reason we need a more continuous information flow and conversation with vendors about “as-is” not just a “to-be” state presentation common at vendor events.
Of course, I can hear AR reps at vendors groan. They have a tough enough time coordinating information flow even in the current state of affairs. More continuous conversations with pesky analysts?
Come on, while most of us do not have the endless bank of fables Brian Sommer has access to, we are full of all kinds of useless trivia. We are pretty fun to converse with. Try us! 🙂
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)