MV people – Don’t compete

A colleague posted an interesting request to a U2 forum today. I think my response is more general for the MV industry so I decided to blog this. In short the request is for an all-MV CRM package, with emphasis that it Must be all-MV. I don’t think that’s a good approach for any of us.

Here’s the entire request for our discussion here:

I am looking for a Customer Relationship Management application.

I have a client who is familiar with Universe and would prefer that, but willing to look at other MV database applications.

However they also will want to demo this to their own clients from time-to-time and so want a pretty looking face on it.
The backend has to be multi-value of some sort, so don’t pitch me non multi-value solutions please

What are my choices if any?

Only looking for *already installed* choices, not custom work.
Some customization is always necessary, but they want to see a working application from the get-go.

While I share and appreciate the dedication to the MV platform, that sort of bias can actually hurt all of us more than help. There are numerous packages out there for free and fee which are very sophisticated and actively developed. The popularity of these non-MV packages makes them attractive for many practical reasons. Just because they aren’t built On MV doesn’t mean they can’t be integrated With MV. Just citing some recognized names, there are multiple APIs for Salesforce and APIs for ZOHO which allow data to move to/from these environments from anywhere else.

You can store data In MV and make it available to these fine offerings. The beauty of MV should not be that “we can do everything” but that we can be just as much of a valued component in an enterprise as any other enterprise component. When people hear passionate Pick people crying about how things were so much better in the 80’s, that’s what they remember about the platform. They don’t get the message that the modern MV platform is as valuable as SQL Server or any other platform in this decade. Insistence on an all MV platform just reinforces the point that Pick people just don’t like to learn anything new, no matter how easy, popular, or full-featured other tools are. Again, that hurts all of us. We need to change that impression by conveying a different message.

The message should be that we don’t care what you have, we can integrate with it. The question is, what don’t other environments provide out of the box that MV does better? Need your CRM to integrate with your manufacturing processes? No problem. Want a special module for your CRM? Great, we can write that in Java with SqLite, PHP with MySQL, C# with SQL Server, or BASIC with MV. It’s all the same to us, pick one, but BASIC is better for all of those reasons that make us passionate about it. And that’s all someone can say about Java, PHP, or any other language or technology. We use it because we like it and it works, not because that’s the only thing we know.

More importantly we need to convey interest in solutions, not preferences. Do we want a Pick-based solution for our clients, or do we want the right solution that fits for their business? We can hope that solution is Pick-based, and strive to create new and better Pick-based tools that people find compelling. But if we emphasize preferences over solutions, our sense of priorities comes into question. Clients will come back to us if we provide them with solutions regardless of technology. They will not continue to pay to be entertained by a one-trick pony.

If we compete with the mainstream world we’re going to fail. We know that’s true because after nearly 50 years of trying to be competitive, MV is still a tiny niche industry trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. MV shops get replaced all the time for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned above. We have a much better chance of consideration amongst other solutions if we claim compliance, equal standing, competence, and no interest in trying to shun other platforms which are commonly found in every office.

Now – who’d like to add some cool new business rules to one of these mainstream CRMs using tried n true Pick BASIC and solid MultiValue database structures?

Leave a Reply