Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Importance of Vendor Neutrality

I was just reading CMS Watch Commentary today and noticed Alan Peltz-Sharpe's post about the Department of Justice suing Accenture for allegedly (who are we kidding, we KNOW they did it!) colluding with a software vendor and recommending the product based on kick-backs. See full story. These are the times it feels very good to be a vendor neutral technology strategy consultant. The collusion between systems integrators (and some large analyst firms) ranges from trivial to flagrant.  Even if there are no monetary kickbacks on a software deal, there is usually some kind of bias. A systems integrator (or more accurately, individuals on a sales team) is going to pitch the product that they know best in order to reduce their risk. In fact, you don't necessarily want a systems integrator to propose a solution that they are going to learn on your billable time. Software vendor partnerships may exert pressure to prioritize a certain solution. My recommendation would be to accept that systems integrators are biased (that they need to be biased) and put their recommendation within that context. Maybe talk to a couple of SI's that specialize in different products. Or, better yet, talk to someone like Content Here who can afford to be vendor neutral and have them connect you with the right technology and  the right integrator. There's my bias talking!  Seriously, it was probably foolish for the Department of Justice to expect an unbiased recommendation from Accenture. I just hope they didn't waste too many tax dollars buying it.