In the case studies I wrote for SAP Nation 3.0 I noticed two common threads
A) Customers were using SIs cautiously – the last set of experiences with SIs and outsources has made them wary. A couple even thanked me for writing the first volume and bringing out the massive cost and poor quality of the SI ecosystem. “You opened our eyes” said one.
B) Several insisted I not include the name of their SI in their case study. It’s their prerogative and I did not pry why. It could be for legal reasons, but I got the distinct sense that they did not want to overstate the role of the SI versus that of their own staff.
Both trends are healthy. In contrast, I am seeing software vendors go the other direction. They call SIs “partners”, brag about how big the SI staff counts are around their products forgetting that this is a direct cost to the customer, plus often another 15 to 20% in travel expenses.
Even more I have noticed SIs are being brought it to present to analysts at the events, and in most cases the SI executives are unprepared or unwilling to answer tough questions. These three comments are in the last few months from SI executives at 3 different major vendor events.
“We have 000s of consultants. We wont change overnight. But I can assure you we are not making revenue from what we did a decade ago”.
“We mostly work on large, global projects and those are not really going to be automated”
“Either he leaves or I leave” – by an executive offended by a fellow analyst’s question about failure rates involving his firm
In each case, I should have challenged the SI statement as either inaccurate or too defensive. Instead being there as a guest of the software vendor I just let it pass. And the host in each case also let it pass.