An Acid Test for Vendor Hype

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I recommend the following acid test in The Agile Executive post entitled Prior to Sprint Zero: A Note on Jakob Nielsen's "Agile User Experience Projects":

If you consider this "prior to sprint zero" approach a bit heavy-handed, I would offer a simple test to assess its reasonableness. Play with a number of IT Service Management (ITSM) products that you picked in random. Once you did so, compare the numbers of those that clearly have services at their core, to the number of those that integrated services into their user interface as an afterthought.

Granted, the test was originally conceived to make a point with respect to the timing of user interface architecture tasks in the cycle of Agile software development. However, it is actually applicable to ITSM products in general. For example, the results of the test cited above are indicative of how far a system management vendor shifted his mindset, architecture, technology and practices from servers to services.

I would actually go one step further to suggest the user interface architecture test as a reliable "bullshit detector" for vendor hype. Whenever a fundamental application paradigm change takes place, the degree to which a vendor embraced the change can be tested by examining the orientation of the user interface. As a potential customer, it tells you how seriously the vendor walks the talk with respect to embracing paradigm changes and investing in so doing in earnest.

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I support the notion of a test to assess a vendor’s R&D commitment to new paradigm changes. We’ve seen such changes for years, if not decades …each bringing a new way of computing, automating, processing information. We’ve also seen too many vendors who promote the hype of the new paradigm through demos and PowerPoint, yet we find after purchase that the software delivered is short on substance. When you leverage software for business improvement, such missed expectations can only add to the disconnect between IT and business.

In my role as an analyst I’ve frequently promoted the concept of “layers of integration” to illustrate that delivery of a consistent or “look-a-like” user interface is at the bottom of the evaluation stack. More important in evaluating how software delivers to the new paradigm (…be it client/server, web, cloud, virtualization…) is evaluating how that user interface leverages the integration of network connectivity, data content, feature/ function, business application, etc.

Yes ..."integration on the glass" is that part of integration that is at the bottom of the evaluation stack ...and for me serves as evidence that the vendor is not serious about stepping up to the new paradigms.

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This page contains a single entry by Israel Gat published on December 1, 2009 5:30 AM.

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