In addition to my post on Oracle and Innovation from yesterday, my colleague Dennis Howlett has also weighed in on this issue, first by citing Vinnie’s post and then adding his own perspective as well. Meanwhile, as a backdrop to the public debate we’re waging, the Enterprise Irregulars have been batting around this issue amongst themselves with some interesting points to be made. One EI, Jason Corsello, opined that innovation is in the eye of the beholder, and that for many organizations, innovation is less important that stability and the “one throat to choke” that comes with sticking with a single vendor.
Microsoft’s ability to innovate also entered the discussion, with Dennis Howlett suggesting that MSFT was good at innovation and providing customer satisfaction. I replied with the following:
NAV, and in fact most of Dynamics, isn’t what I would call a hotbed of
innovation. The model doesn’t allow for it: most of the innovation in
MSFT ERP products come from small regional partners, and said partners
and MSFT have done a lousy job globalizing that innovation to make it
available to all their customers. So, in light of the relative lack of
innovation, Dynamics customers’ high level of satisfaction (or low
levels of bitching, which are absolutely NOT the same thing) say a
fair amount about the value of innovation and customer sat — and may
support Karen Tillman’s contention, and Jason’s, that high customer
sat can exist in the absence of innovation. I guarantee you that
MSFT’s customer sat levels plummeted with Vista — having just spent
three days figuring out how to run chkdsk on my wife’s Vista machine,
something that would have taken two seconds with any of the 10
previous incarnations of the MSFT OS.
Also, we cannot know what MSFT spends on innovation, or anything else,
relating to its ERP products, as they stopped breaking out those
numbers years ago. And, as we have seen all too often over the years,
if a company is being secretive, there’s usually a good (or actually
bad) reason. So, it’s not a fair comparison to make.
I don’t think the issue is settled here, and hopefully we’ll see some more discussion in the coming months. It’s clearly an important topic, all the more so because innovation is one of the key reasons for spending in today’s economy, and the burden of proof is on vendors to prove the value of the innovation they provide…..