Blind Vendor Allegiance Trumps Utility

April 27, 2010
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Refrigerator photo by xJasonRogersx via Flickr (Creative Commons)

At the recent Gartner MDM Summit in Las Vegas I was approached at least a half a dozen times by people wondering what MDM vendor to choose. I gave my usual response, which was, “What are you trying to accomplish?”

Normally a (short) conversation ensues of functions, feeds and speeds, which then leads to my next question, “So, what are your priorities and decision criteria?  The responses were all the same, and I have to admit that they surprised me.

“We know we need MDM, but our company hasn’t really decided what MDM is.  Since we’re already a [Microsoft / IBM / SAP / Oracle / SAS] shop, we just thought we’d buy their product…so what do you think of their product?”

I find this type of question interesting and puzzling. Why would anyone blindly purchase a product because of the vendor, rather than focusing on needs, priorities, and cost metrics?  Unless a decision has absolutely no risk or cost, I’m not clear how identifying a vendor before identifying the requirements could possibly have a successful outcome.

If I look in my refrigerator, not all my products have the same brand label. My taste, interests, and price tolerance vary based upon the
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