Users slam vendors' sales tactics

Vendors "assume" they know the customer's business but often don't take the time to really listen and learn, the principal systems adviser at Queensland Rail, Jan Simpson, said this week.

Simpson said some account managers "pigeon hole" clients without talking, understanding or showing interest, particularly in a long-standing relationship or where a new manager has been assigned to the account.

Simpson is one of several IT managers who responded to last week's Computerworld article, Is IT's purchasing model broken? (CW, March 18, 2002 P1) which claimed vendors don't really understand their customers' business, and that IT managers without a buying strategy end up buying the vendor's strategy. The article was based on a Computerworld survey of IT managers who believe vendors lie to customers, refuse to share business risks, don't understand their business and are not in it for the long haul.

IT managers were quick to defend their purchasing strategies and Simpson claimed she is certainly not influenced by vendors, with buying based on one-, three- and five-year plans.

"We buy based on our needs and requirements with about 50 per cent of IT spending going to external suppliers," she said.

Grace Removals IT manager Howard Malyon said it is essential to paint a clear picture for vendors so they know "your business".

"As an IT manager if I have to re-train a vendor then it is just as easy to look at new vendors who might be offering more and train them instead; they have to know your business," he said.

Malyon agreed vendors try to influence buying strategies, but " the IT manager has to live with the purchase forever".