Software Demonstrations are like watching TV (no, that’s not a good thing)

Will Weider over at Candid CIO posted a great new article: ET and Software Demonstrations. I especially loved what he said about the “Cannit” part of software demonstrations:

I know I am trapped in a bad demonstration when a volley begins between participants and demonstrators. Each question begins with “Can it…” Of course each response is “Yes.” Or my favorite “Yes, with customization,” which is vendorspeak for NO.

There are so many problems with this approach I don’t know where to begin. Actually I do. The vendor is lying through his/her teeth until proven otherwise. Any simple question that someone asks can be interpreted in a way to illicit a positive response. Usually the questions are too poorly thought out to really capture the intent. Furthermore, if the vendor is not demonstrating, but just volleying back positive responses is anyone really learning anything?


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One thought on “Software Demonstrations are like watching TV (no, that’s not a good thing)

  1. I have unfortunately experienced the same problem. I attended the last Health Information Management System Society (HIMSS) conference with high hopes as a practicing clinician with an IT background. What I found was presentation after presentattion of power point slides, limited function demos and vague, non-committal answers to questions. One vendor (who I think actually has one of the most scalable, powerful solutions), flat out told me that they were not going to take the time to talk to me because I was military and was not a potential short interval customer prospect.
    The software development companies need to make more of an effort to be clear and direct in their marketing. While I do not share the opinion that they are lying through their teeth until proven otherwise, I do think that more could be done in the way of less hype and more substance. I have reccomended to several companies that they design a lab in house where practicing clinicians could run simulated patients through, both to study the strengths/weaknesses of their development solution and for the programmers to see what the tools need to accomplish. My experience is that at present, physicians are used primarily in marketing.
    Mr Weider raises an intetesting question when he asks if we are learning anything? I would suggest that the goal is to sell and not to educate. I would further suggest to the software vendors that honest, effective eduation, combined with a fuctional product will likely do more for sales and customer loyalty than flashing pens, plasma screen presentations and baked goods.

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