Oops! The input is malformed! Today’s Technology Marketplace by Bill Inmon - BeyeNETWORK India


Today’s Technology Marketplace Part 2 of a Two-Part Series on the Changing Role of the Vendor

Originally published 12 September 2013

In the first article of this series, we saw that in the early days of technology, the role of the vendor was more of an advisory role than a role of sales. But Microsoft entered the picture, appealing to people in the corporation who were not subject to audiences with the ruling vendor. And a whole new marketplace evolved.

Coincident to the emergence of a new marketplace was the phenomenon of vendors not selling only their own technology. In their early days, IBM sold IBM technology. Prominent among the list of products that IBM sold were the System 360, IMS and CICS. These early products were essentially IBM-developed products. But over the years IBM and other established vendors have taken to buying their research and development technology in the marketplace by acquiring companies. As time passes, less and less original research that started with the vendor is finding its way to the marketplace. Instead, innovative new technology is finding its way into the large vendor organizations. IBM is hardly the only company buying innovative, new technology. Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and others are using externally developed technology as a source for research and development.

The issue with externally developed technology is that it seldom fits the original technological vision of the vendor. In almost every case, externally developed technology is niche-based technology that fits outside or tangential to the purchasing vendor’s original technological vision.

The result is that the large vendor starts to look more like a grocery store than a single-minded technology provider. When the vendor starts to look like a grocery store, the vendor’s role changes dramatically. The vendor goes from being an advisor to being a seller of products. It was inevitable that over time the role of the vendor advisor  would change. That change is healthy for the organization and healthy for the vendor.

There are a thousand reasons why this transition has occurred, such as:

  • The audience being sold to has matured.
  • The focus of technology has shifted. 
  • The needs of the organization migrate and mature.

Filling the Advisor Gap

In the place of the vendor/confidante is the research organization. The research organization in many ways fills the gap left by the demise of the vendor confidante.

In addition colleges and universities now play a role. In the 1960s there were no formal courses for information science. In today’s world there are some very good programs for computer science, information science, and the management of business. Thanks to the efforts of colleges and universities, today there are students who, upon graduation, will really be prepared to make informed decisions about technology. No longer does the corporation have to designate a manager and then hope for the best.

It was predictable that the phenomenon of the vendor/advisor would not last forever. It was just too tempting for the vendor/advisor to take advantage of the corporation. Gracefully, that relationship is going the way of the dodo bird.

SOURCE: Today’s Technology Marketplace

  • Bill InmonBill Inmon

    Bill is universally recognized as the father of the data warehouse. He has more than 36 years of database technology management experience and data warehouse design expertise. He has published more than 40 books and 1,000 articles on data warehousing and data management, and his books have been translated into nine languages. He is known globally for his data warehouse development seminars and has been a keynote speaker for many major computing associations.

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