jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

Enterprise Software Again

I realized today that it’s been ten years since I dedicated an entire post to complaining about enterprise software. In that ten years not much has changed, unfortunately. Enterprise software is still crap, and it’s still more of a hassle than it’s worth. It’s best to avoid whenever possible, so when you find yourself evaluating software or services for your company, here’s a few easy markers to identify the products you should let pass by.

  1. Enterprise software doesn’t want to tell you how much it costs.
  2. Enterprise software often doesn’t even list what it does, instead it want’s to partner with you to provide solutions.
  3. Enterprise software doesn’t provide you technical documentation until after you’ve paid. And even then, it’s lacking.
  4. Instead of real documentation, the marketing department of enterprise software vendors will write “whitepapers”, which are entirely useless.
  5. The user-facing part of enterprise software is almost always complete garbage.

This last point is important because it gets to the crux of what enterprise software is: software wherein the person who pays for it is not the person who uses it. Payment for these solutions is handled by managers who are several steps removed from the daily process of having to put the software in place and use it as intended. What the managers need is a way to justify the exorbitant fees enterprise software vendors charge, so the vender’s sites are full of marketing jargon and various scenarios, hoping to inspire one manager to convince another manager that the price is worth it.

It’s not.

There’s almost always a better way to go about solving whatever problem an organization seeks out a vendor to solve. My personal preference is to solve it in house with open source software and custom development. That way, the money you would have spent on the garbage solution from an enterprise software vendor is spent investing in your own organization. Invest in yourself, solve your own problems, don’t compound your problems by buying someone else’s.

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