I have been in this Information Technology Industry now since 1985 on a professional level. That is when I wrote my first software programme that I got paid for. I have learned over the years that when you investigate a technology, you investigate and evaluate all the facts before you decide how to plan the way forward.
If you cannot get all the facts, it means you have to go and look for them as it is completely stupid to make strategic decisions merely based upon assumptions or hearsay. Unless you want to expose your organisation at huge risk, you have to make sure of the facts at hand, and your own research need to confirm this. The industry analysts such as Gartner, IDC and others have often been more wrong than right. When you start to anaylyse their predictions their reports are often vendor sponsored or very vague and generalised. Most acedemics in this area will give these analyst firms a 1 out of 5 score for reliability of information, where 1 = unreliable.
One of our customers recently complianed heavily how a Microsoft Sales Account Manager tried to scare them into migrating to Microsoft because Novell will no longer be in South Africa within the next few months. The customer was told directly that they will no longer be able to get any support from Novell and it is in their own interest to migrate as quickly as possible before Novell leaves the country.
At least here we have a customer that realised the absolute speculation at hand, and even if Novell does leave South Africa in a year's time (purely speculation), it will not matter as all support on Novell is provided by Novell Partners or by Novell Support Centres remotely. This customer also knows that even Microsoft only have sales offices in many countries and that support is also provided remotely and through their partners.
Microsoft does in fact have great technologies that changed our world, and I myself make great use of many of their technologies. It still does not give them the right to manipulate the truth to win business. It is illegal and should be stopped in its tracks. Microsoft does not need to go down to such lows, just to get the business. If the technology is right for the customer, they will buy. Do not win business on telling lies to customers.
I must also say that Microsoft is not the only villain. Even giants like Oracle and EMC behave differently when doing business in Africa than when they do business in Europe for example. Telling customers untruths about your competitor because you cannot win on a technical level is wrong but if you to this in Europe the authorities will be on to you very quickly.
It is the audacity of IT Vendors to manipulate speculation to create fear and uncertainty with customers is one of the most unethical business practices in this industry. Even worse is when they start to create technical untruths about their competitor's products, especially when they know that a customer does not have the technical know-how or resources to validate their invalid claims.
It is also the responsibility of customers to validate the claims being made by the IT Vendors. I have found myself often in a situation where I need to convince a customer that what the large vendor told them is a blatant lie, and then they will still believe the vendor that told the lie, and then the business goes to the lying vendor.
The IT industry is unfortunately not governed by the same principles of accuracy and transparency such as the field of engineering or the medical field where just one ommission or error in judgement can result in yourself or your entire organisation being disqualified from practicing in that industry.
The only way to solve this type if behaviour is the customer that need to become more critical of the facts that are sometimes paraded in front of them. Once the IT vendors realise that they themselves can only use real and true facts, this IT industry will gain more respect and we will no longer need all this hype and nonsense that many in this industry feed upon.