Sunday, January 14, 2007

Beautiful Brochure...ugly product

I have been doing a light evaluation of some software products in anticipation of some upcoming requirements for a project I am working on. The product that the architect in my position before me had been ready to buy is a real piece of work. It commits three violations of trust that no company selling software should:

1. Where's the product?
I don't trust that there even is a product when you can't go to the website and have any clue about how to buy the product or even a wild guess as to it's cost. You can download a gloriously illustrated brochure of bullet points of software features, with teeny tiny pictures of UI. You can read about solutions and services, but you can't buy anything? It sounds like a services trap: call us, we'll figure out how much money you have to set our price, then buy/rent our software and we'll finish it for you at an hourly rate, but own the code we write for you.

I guarantee there isn't a "there is no three step" install process.

2. UI design = sorry, we spent all of the design money on our brochure.
What does it say when a company has an obviously professionally designed and frankly beautiful brochure, but their actual product looks completely undesigned and frankly is just plain hideous? They care about people's experience until they have their money?

3. No mention of an API anywhere.
Monolith sensors on full alert. This thing has to integrate with my enterprise, I don't need to buy an ERP system where everything is a module of your system, versus a distributed architecture. (no one does need to buy a "complete" ERP system...ever) Currently dealing with the seemingly vast, but still incomplete, APIs of Microsoft Dynamics Great "Pains" has me watching out for software that makes itself hard to fit into a distributed world. This software isn't even a web app, so there's no chance of URL hacking.

Sorry, no dice. I am specifically not naming the guilty party here so that they don't begin any legal actions against me for defamation of character, or in case I decide to apply for a job there someday to rewrite the thing. I'll post an offensive screenshot at some point in the future on an unrelated topic.