Why Enterprises buy Software

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Let me first correct myself. Enterprises don't buy software, managers do. Therefore, when selling software to enterprises, it is very important to understand that the motivation of managers to buy a new piece of software is always aspirational. They see a problem in need of fixing and they see software as a way how to fix it. Such coupled approach, when both business processes are being re-engineered and a new piece of software is being introduced, is one of the main reasons why so many software applications fail - too many things are attempted at the same time. But managers have very few other tools at their disposal how to revamp business processes, bring about the change in the company, and spruce up their CVs along the way. Fifteen years ago I was a lead developer of a piece of enterprise software. I was very motivated to make our product successful, so I got quite involved in the sales process and participated also at a few meetings with perspective customers. In particular I remember a meeting with a CEO of a large poultry company. When presented with our offering, he bluntly said that they will not buy our product but ten times more expensive product from established vendor of enterprise solution. When we asked the CEO why, he answered:

"I'm not buying software, I'm buying a solution. And other vendor's solution is battle-tested at several comparable organizations to ours whose experience is ingrained in that solution. While I like your software better, I cannot afford you to learn from us, we need to learn from you."

As you can imagine, we didn't make the sale.