Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Blog Feed Post

Customers typology: The Captive

picture source: Wikipedia

The word Captive in this context, is not about someone caught by enemy's forces.  It is about a customer, whose conception about the Consultant's topic are dictated by an expert or someone pretending to be an expert. 

In a previous post you can find an example. The post titled: Vendor Survival Guide: Supermarket, Grocery and Kiosk

An example depicted in that post was Data Sorting Software product selection process. The Captive Customer selected a product of Servers and Operating Systems vendor (The vendor is an analogy to a Supermarket). I recommended, a superior product of a small company. Sorting Software was the only product the company developed and marketed (Kiosk).

The "Supermarket" does not care, if you buy chewing gum, as long as you buy meat, fish, bread and milk (Servers, Storage, Operating Systems etc.).
The kiosk's existence depends on chewing gum (Sorting Software). The "kiosk" will try harder, by selling better and cheaper Software.

The supermarket has to sell chewing gum, in order to be a one stop shop. However, its profits on chewing gum are negligible. Therefore it does not care much about selling chewing gum.

Supermarket, kiosk and the Captive Customer
A rational buyer, who is buying only chewing gum, should prefer buying it at the Kiosk and not at the Supermarket.

Similarly, a rational buyer should prefer buying cheaper and superior Sorting software product, from a vendor focused on this product.  To my surprise,  the customer rejected my recommendation and chose an inferior and more expensive product, developed by a vendor selling a variety of software and hardware products. 
It should be noted that the same customer's decisions were often rational decisions.

Why does the customer decided irrationally?
The Customer was a Captive Customer. The Vendor's  Representatives told him that their product is a lot better than the dedicated vendor's product. It was a good enough reason for choosing the inferior product.

Remember, the vendor's employees do not care much about selling Sorting Utility program. Therefore, they did not try to convince him to chose their product.

Main Characteristics of the Captive Customer
The Captive Customer's opinion is that someone else (not the customer) is the oracle. He will do whatever the oracle will say.
The oracle could be a Software and/or Hardware vendor such as: Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, HP, SAP, Google etc.  

He could be a Software House, an Information  Technology Research company or even a mythological former manager, who worked for the Customer's organization twenty years ago.
How can the Consultant influence a Captive Customer?
changing a Captive Customer's viewpoint is a difficult and complicated process. Success is not guaranteed. You should utilize different method's and different approaches to change viewpoints of different Captive customers.

The following bullets describe potential approaches and ideas based on my vast experience:

  • Avoid of confrontation with the Captor
Explain to the Captive Customer what and why you prefer the solution you recommend. Do not criticize the Captor and do not describe his motives and benefits, in case the customer accepts his recommendations (Usually Captors are selling Software and/or Hardware and/or additional Services).

  • Refrain from explaining previous mistakes based on the Captor's recommendations
The Captive Customer could have Patricia Hearst's Syndrome. She identified with her kidnappers' ideas. He may be identified with his Captor's views. If he developed Patty Hearst's Syndrome, confrontation with the Captor could operate like a boomerang.

  • Present Research, Viewpoints, Case Studies of others supporting your viewpoint 
The data should be with clear cut views and the source should be a person or a company or academic authority, which the customer respects.

For example, many Captive IT Customers respect, research firms such as Gartner, Forrester Research and IDC. In that case, present answers to specific queries issued by you or the customer, relating to the current issue.
You can also present Research Notes, verbal Analyst's opinions etc.

Others could respect a former co-worker or former manager agreeing with your views or even evangelizing these viewpoints. Let them know what she or he thinks (directly by talking to him or her). 

According to my experience, sometime Not Invented Here(NIH) supporting evidence in other language may help you more than local evidence in your own language. 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.