Practical Experience Over Technological Know How: Why the Industry Landscape is Shifting

Posted on August 27, 2010


“Our direct sales force does not consist of traditional software sales people, but rather service parts experts most of whom were planners themselves.  Whether you are talking to sales, support, or management at Baxter, you can be confident that you are speaking with a service parts expert, not merely someone who understands the capabilities of a software product.”

Excerpt from my August 26th Interview “PI News Flash: With Baxter Kawasaki Let’s The Good Times Roll

As you can imagine I receive a steady stream of press releases, article suggestions and yes even story ideas for the PI Window on Business radio broadcasts.  Amidst this ever expanding wave of information I try and find the significance to a story beyond the obvious headlines.

In the case of Kawasaki selecting Baxter, while the contract win in and of itself can be interesting news, it is the undercurrent of what I see as it’s much broader implication that tweaked my curiosity and ultimately led to my decision to do a radio segment.

In an industry where 85% of all initiatives have in the past have failed – in some cases miserably – to achieve the expected results, one has to wonder where vendors and the mainstream pundits who cover them have missed the mark.  A question for another day of course is whether the recent exodus of analysts from the Aberdeen’s and Gartner’s of the world is a reflection of the failings of the firms themselves, and an effort on the part of the fleeing experts to put some distance between them and their former employers or, if these analysts got it wrong and are therefore abandoning sinking ships of their own making?

The S.S. Aberdeen or Gartner?

Interesting question, in that there are not too many professions that would continue to provide a venue to individuals whose success rate is less than 15%.  I mean, would you go to a surgeon whose track record for successful operations mirrored the success rate of those in the procurement world?  It is here that the Baxter selection by Kawasaki delivers its true message.

Specifically, the practical, real-world expertise referenced in the opening paragraph of today’s post reflects what I would call the true adaptability of emerging SaaS vendors and their related solutions.

I guess what I am saying is that the technological expertise of vendors is not as important as their practical expertise, because it is the latter that ultimately influences their ability to understand the everyday challenges of the client and in the process develop and effectively leverage the technological promise or potential that has been elusive for so many clients over so many years.

Here is the link to the On-Demand August 26th Interview with Baxter VP Mark Anderson.