I am a non-exec at a small software co which licences specialist apps (as we must now call them - it used to be 'solutions'), almost exclusively to large UK industrials. The stories the sales people bring back from the front-line are generally of the "you can't believe how disorganised they are" type, but regrettably I can, having seen the inside of many a massive software installation cock-up. (Anyone who imagines these are the preserve of government departments is quite wrong, as we've discussed before.)
Anyhow, this week I learned of one that really adds to my general gloom on this wet holday weekend.
Company (household name firm, identities concealed to protect the *ahem* innocent) approaches us 4 months ago: "we are operating very inefficiently in one of our biggest cost centres & are worked off our feet using utterly hopeless old spreadsheets that no-one really knows how to maintain. We think your app could save us a lot of time and errors". "Correct. And our app will work on all your existing PCs and most smart-phones; it will replace your grotesque, clunking spreadsheets with something you can audit; we will set you up in half a day; no systems integrators are required; the training is 2 hours for a basic user, one day for in-depth knowledge for sysad; we maintain it remotely." (it is SaaS) "Great: can we buy a 3-month full trial licence?"
Last week, two months in, we call to find out how they are getting on & invite them to roll over into a permanent licence. "Oh, we've been too busy to use it. We haven't really looked at it since your guys left our office. Can we just pay for the final month and uninstall, please?"
What's the betting they have however mysteriously found time in that period for at least one departmental away-day in a nice hotel somewhere? If they get wiped out by some far-eastern competitor that actually knows what it is doing, I shan't be remotely surprised. Tough shit guys, but you have it coming.