As a software vendor focused exclusively on the IBM i market, we often read or hear IBM i IT professionals complain about IBM marketing or the way competing vendors have managed to surround and discredit IBM i in their company. The general theme of most these discussions is that IBM i is the Rodney Dangerfield of computing platforms. We understand the sentiment, but our perspective on it might surprise you.
While every experienced salesperson would like to speak to the proverbial “C-level decision maker,” in our experience getting to that person in an IBM i shop is a significant challenge. Most C-level executives immediately redirect software vendors to their IT department the moment they hear the words "IBM" and "software" in the conversation. Secondly, confirming that a company runs IBM i usually requires initial contact with the IT department where we're most likely to find people aware of and supportive of IBM i. We try to reach this audience through a mix of telephone and email marketing, advertising in IBM i technology newsletters and magazines, and exhibits at user group conferences.
Unfortunately, the IT professionals most likely to see our marketing are usually focused on programming methods and development tools they personally might use. There isn't a lot of incentive for them to initiate the evaluation of a software application that they will need to install and set up for others to use, especially if they expect those people to require technical support. Wouldn't it be easier if those users met their needs some other way? Given time, they will, and that contributes to the shrinking role and image problem of IBM i in many companies.
We're not inclined like some IBM i software vendors to tell IT professionals that it's their job to fill the void created by IBM's modest marketing efforts, but we do think the future of IBM i would be brighter if more of its biggest proponents invested more time introducing their C-level executives to IBM i business solutions. If for nothing else, you might try this tactic as a way to annoy those other vendors surrounding and discrediting your beloved IBM i.
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