The difference in vendor demos

I’ve attended no end of vendor demos over the years, and some stick in your mind for different reasons – A NetApp demo at a University campus. This was a great demo with a good account team, but the use of the word ‘tetris’ does start to bug you after a while. A Packeteer demo on site where I worked, where the tech tried to tell us that their product could reduce the latency between Europe and North America. No amount of explaining that you simply cannot change physics like that would convince them otherwise

An unnamed vendor who, no matter how many times you re-phrased the question, were unable (or unwilling) to answer how their storage arrays replicated data 🚩

I’ve recently been on several demos for vendor/product selection, and it’s been quite surprising at the range of quality of what is fundamentally a sales pitch. You’d assume that they always want to put their best foot forward and impress you with the quality of the product

The good

At one end of the scale, there have been vendors with a strong product and a demo team who know what they’re talking about. They’re able to answer questions before you ask them (which sometimes makes it feel a bit awkward when the “any questions?” parts draw a blank), and the presenters can give a level of detail that’s needed

The little less good

In the middle of the scale, there have been vendors who have had a very strong team presenting and are extremely open about their technology. Only, the product is immature or lacking some key feature that you need. Sadly, there’s nothing the demo team can do in that instance – If the product doesn’t meet your needs, they can’t suddenly add the features during the demo

The bad

Then at the negative end of the scale, you have the vendors who attack their competitors and/or tell you that you don’t need a feature you’re asking for. Or even the vendors who quote on a solution before they’ve completed a discovery phase with you. If you’re really lucky, this all comes from the same vendor

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