Vapourware – A Lesson Learned!

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Sales 

What sparked off this post is the article spotted on e-Health Insider that stated that East Cheshire NHS Trust had opted to keep its existing PAS IT system and pay for a hardware upgrade, rather than implement the Local Service Provider (LSP) offering of iSoft Lorenzo (i). This in itself wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary were it not for the fact that the Trust did so despite a £1 million incentive to take the LSP system!

Among the reasons cited for this decision were: the quality of the product was not of a sufficiently high standard & some key functions such as clinical coding and casenote tracking could not be demonstrated.

Thankfully, this Trust had the good sense to decline an unfinished product that (according to the report by the Public Accounts Committee) (ii) as yet isn’t running live “throughout a single Acute Trust”. Unfortunately, this pragmatic approach is all too often not the case and vapourware is still alive and kicking – even in large government projects!

Our own experience includes attending product “demonstrations” comprising nothing more than a snappy PowerPoint presentation of screenshots, with assurances that “everything will be fine” when the product is implemented by the project team. These demonstrations were not being conducted by small ‘fly-by-night’ companies but were from large organisations presenting projects that would cover entire regions, costing many hundreds of thousands of pounds. It’s all too easy for end-users to be taken in by the promises made by a slick sales-guy or overwhelmed by the “functionality” shown in the presentation.

Customers need to make sure that what is being demonstrated is what they actually need to fulfil their requirements – the finished product, delivered for the demonstration in the same way that it’s delivered for the live system with all relevant modules working. Suppliers need to be more ready to make a test system available to potential customers, even if it lacks the local tailoring for a specific site. If a supplier is unable to do this, they clearly don’t yet have a product to sell!

With careful planning and a supplier that is willing to work alongside their customers, projects can be implemented that work and deliver the benefits in accordance with the project timelines – surely a win-win situation for both customer and supplier!

With this approach, vapourware can be consigned to history (after all, it was never really there to begin with)!

Check out my LinkedIn profile if you want to know more about me:

Magikos IT always ensure our customers can try IT, test IT before they buy IT. Go take a look at our IT products and services to find out more.


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