I had a specific beverage name in mind for the title of this entry, but I don’t think it’s fair to associate it with what I’m about to talk about.
Recently, a software vendor has told me that it is impossible to export records from their database (written in MS SQL, btw) and transfer them to another database elsewhere. It is completely obvious that they don’t want to do it for fear of messing something up. It is also obvious that they don’t have DBA’s anymore.
There has been one other thing about this vendor that has driven me nuts for a really long time. When I went to a training session in their office a couple years ago, they tried really hard to make me see things their way: Just lay down, don’t get involved in what our product should be able to do and we’ll feed your users a bunch of garbage about us being more than a vendor. Think of us more as a partner. I was invited to join user groups (for a fee) to help “ensure the features you want to see are included in the next version”.
I didn’t join. I just want their crappy software to work right out of the box. Maybe I’m old school, but that’s what I expect with all my vendors. If someone gives me poor service, I write them out of my plans, I don’t try to negotiate for better service. Some of these vendors have forgotten who the customer is.
Just a tip for all the other admins out there, the second you drink the Instant Liquid Beverage of a company like that, their hooks are in. The next feature you want will be another lump sum payment. Want more users? Here’s the upfront cost and here is the cost for annual support.
Here’s what I would like to see happen: Hear me out before you completely dismiss this idea. Microsoft needs to regulate vendors that sell bolt-ons (aka front ends) to their products.
When I worked in the wireless industry, this was common practice. It still is today. The carriers chose which vendors work with their cellular service and instill a certain level of quality into the customer experience by filtering out things that work and things that run like trash.
I want to be abundantly clear: this does not give Microsoft a monopoly nor would it be monopolistic for Microsoft to take complaints from third-party clients. In my case, if I don’t like the decisions Microsoft made, I could find a front end for MySQL, DB2, or even Oracle.
What a little more difficulty from Microsoft would do is make these little development places that are too lazy to write their own backend from messing up businesses by writing things that they can’t even figure out a couple years later.
I highly recommend that anyone who makes technology decisions make sure they are not seeing too much value in a specific vendor. At all costs, don’t drink if they offer it!