Yes, I have called software vendors snake oil sellers. Last year I wrote, “Now social learning is being picked up by software vendors and marketers as the next solution-in-a-box, when it’s more of an approach and a cultural mind-set.” In 2005, social learning online was a fringe activity that we had to test using open source platforms like Drupal. Now everything is “social”. I remember when we ran our informal learning unworkshops in 2006 while the major enterprise software vendors ignored us or privately told us there was no market for this stuff. Now they use our words to sell their products.
Usually I represent the buyers of enterprise software, not the sellers. I have advised vendors on how to improve their products but my aim is not to make an easy market for their sales. I want to help organizations democratize while simultaneously improving their overall performance. As an independent consultant, I maintain a perspective of vendor neutrality. I do not represent any other companies.
While some people have inferred that I may be vendor hostile, let me tell you what I learned today about a software company – Socialcast. They are not my client and I do not have any stake in the company.
During a web presentation today, I saw that Socialcast gets a critical part of workplace performance right. They understand that collaboration has to be embedded in the workflow. Their “secret sauce” is the ability to integrate with a wide variety of other enterprise software applications. These are tools that workers use every day. Socialcast enables conversations around and between these systems. There is no requirement to leave the workflow to collaborate.
I’ve used Socialcast for several months and must say the learning curve is negligible. It’s simple and effective. You are up and using it very quickly. This is a company that understands online collaboration and reduces silos instead of creating a new one.
So there you have it. If you want the endorsement of a vendor-neutral consultant, just do a good job and you’ll get noticed.