Blog April 24, 2018

No finger pointing: Stop saying “not me”

By Brian Zrimsek

The sixth topic in our “Ten ways to tell if your enterprise software provider is open” series is finger pointing, or rather, a lack thereof. The idea here is that if integrations are built and supported by the ecosystem sponsor, in collaboration with their partners, then the sponsor needs to “own” support of the integrations, regardless of where the issue resides.

Take responsibility

To keep with prior references to the automobile industry, let’s take a look at Magna International. Magna had over $36 billion in sales in 2016, selling to nearly every automotive manufacturer you could name. Those manufacturers tend to focus on design and final assembly while sourcing parts and components from companies like Magna. Independent of the source of any parts or components, they have an integrated approach to assembly, service and support. When you have an issue with your car’s powertrain, you don’t call Magna for support. You go to a certified service center for your automobile’s brand.

The same experience should be found in an open and connected ecosystem. Since the ecosystem sponsor is building and maintaining integrations (in conjunction with their partners), they also need to own the support when issues arise. The number you call for integration support should be the same as the application support number.

Once an issue is found, the ecosystem sponsor needs to also own the research, problem identification and communication with the client. The actual corrective action to address the issue would be managed by the organization that has the ability to adjust the specific code, data condition or infrastructure at the root of the issue.

While this sounds straight forward, it is not easy. Much like the “Not Me” ghost from the classic comic strip Family Circus, an often-natural reaction is to not take ownership in order to avoid blame.

Owning up

In an open and connected ecosystem, the sponsor must say, “Yes me,” in place of saying, “Not me,” and then pointing a finger at the partner. The sponsor must own the issue from the client point of view and then work with their partners to resolve the problem.

In the world of SaaS applications, there are many potential points of failure beyond bugs in the code. Firewall configurations, security protocols, expired passwords, IP address changes, unexpected special characters and other unique data conditions can all interrupt the normal flow of information between applications.

Since troubleshooting typically involves parties from both sides of the integration, and these parties are in a strategic and trusted relationship, eliminating the potential for finger pointing is both possible and necessary.

Stop saying “Not me!”

If your enterprise software provider is not truly open and not focused on being connected, then you are likely to hear, “Not me” as a reply, putting the onus for problem resolution on you, the client. This should not be a shock, however, as you were also on the hook to build and manage the integrations.

Here’s the fairly logical conclusion: If the enterprise software provider is sponsoring the ecosystem, they should also build and support the integrations and, therefore, take ownership to resolve issues as they arise. If the enterprise software provider is not sponsoring an ecosystem, then neither the support nor the ownership are likely to be there.

As a client, you are not interested in the avoidance, or placement, of blame. You are not interested in finger pointing. You are looking for ownership and issue resolution in order to restore normal working conditions.

You want to hear “Yes me!”

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