Why we love vendors

It's the early 1990s, and this system manager pilot fish is looking for a better way to defragment hard disks.

"Our work -- CAD mapping -- required large chunks of contiguous disk space," fish says. "Consequently, we devoted one Saturday per month to manually defragmenting all of the data hard disks by backing up to tape and then writing back to disk.

"When I became aware of automated defragmentation products, I initiated a project to evaluate them."

Fish hasn't dealt directly with vendors before in a competitive procurement situation. And it's an eye-opener.

One sales rep from Vendor A tries everything she knows on the male fish, including an appeal to his vanity.

When that doesn't work, she sets up fish in a meeting with one of her company's product developers. That isn't exactly a rousing success, either. Says fish, "He was a straight-shooter and commented during our conversation, 'What does she want me to do, offer you a beachfront condo?'"

Once the process gets to the evaluation period, things don't get much better. Vendor A's product repeatedly trashes the system disk, which fish has to restore from a backup each time.

Eventually, Vendor A fixes the problem. But that takes a while, and in the meantime competitor Vendor B's software performs well.

"When the procurement was swinging in favor of Vendor B, a high-ranking manager from Vendor A called me and questioned the wisdom of our choice because of the philosophical and religious beliefs of the founder of Vendor B," sighs fish.

"After all this, the Vendor A rep asked me, 'So why did you decide to go with Vendor B?'"

Sharky can't offer you a beachfront condo, either. But send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com, and you'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it.

Have a similar experience? Then add your comments to the daily Shark Tank blog!

Join Shark Bait

If you love Shark Tank, you'll have fun with Shark Bait, a place where you can really tear apart IT. Submit your own tech-related "baits" for points, or rate other baits. Leave comments, build your profile, and try to become one of the "big fish." Visit the Shark Bait site to get started.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon