I’ve been carefully avoiding writing about things like this for a few reasons. You don’t want to upset people. You don’t want to pick fights. Plus nobody trusts vendors anyhow. But the TMS space’s maturity levels have descended to a laughable state.
Anyone who has been a partner, client, or potential client in the space has seen the sad state of affairs. They’ve heard the “statistics” on competitors’ performance, seen the comparison tables, read the “research” on the space. The hilarious part is that these businesses must have forgotten that they are selling to analysts. People who get to the bottom of things for a living. Analysts aren’t suckers who believe things just because they’re said or written. They’re going to go through the trouble of actually looking and investigating.
So here’s what I’d like to point out. Despite all of the noise and FUD flying around, most of the players in TMS actually deliver tangible and immediate value. While they may not all live up to their own marketing (which often closely resembles a North Korean display of supremacy), they also don’t live up to the criticism levied on them by competitors.
What these sales people don’t realize is that if everyone is flinging insults, mistruths, and FUD at each other, all that does is introduce confusion. While they think they are making themselves stand out, they are just another source of noise. The net effect of this confusion is decreased sales, increased churn, decreased trust in the client relationship, etc. Certainly from the TMS provider’s perspective, this is bad on all fronts. But what’s more important is that from the client’s perspective, it’s even worse: many clients who could benefit immensely from a TMS do not get one, and the ones who do are saddled with doubt as to whether they’ve made the right choice or face trust issues from colleagues who wanted another solution and are out to prove they were right.
So let’s all grow the hell up on the TMS end, and to the analysts, keep being you. Your natural skills will lead you through the FUD. Make the decision that is right for you. If you’ve made the wrong decision, re-evaluate, decide, and move on. Switching costs are low (that’s kind of the whole point), so you have agility. See through the fog, and call vendors out on their BS, “assumptions,” or reaches. Let’s stick to the facts. That’s what you’re good at.