|By Yakov Fain||
|February 22, 2013 06:22 PM EST||
Last month a prospective customer called our office.
“We know that you have a team of software developers that build e-commerce applications with Hybris software. Can you help us with developing our online store?”
“Sure we can – we have a solid expertise in developing e-commerce applications with Hybris software”.
“But our store will have pretty large catalog: ten million products”.
“We didn’t have a chance to develop online stores that have more than a million products. We know how to approach such a project to minimize your risk, but so far we didn’t deploy such an application in production.”
After this conversation we’ve never heard from this person again. We know why: he was looking for another answer like, “Sure, we did it before and will do it again!” This is not to say that creating a responsive online store with 10M products is not possible with Hybris, but we didn’t do it. In any online store product catalogs have to be indexed from time to time. For example, a store needs to add a new line of products. How much time is required to re-index a store with 10M with Hybris software? We simply don’t know. We’d be happy to set up a lab with the appropriate hardware and create a pilot just to answer this question, but this prospect customer is gone.
What will happen next? I’ll tell you: the deja vu of IT consulting. Some brave salesman of another consulting company will explain to this customer that working with large product catalogs is their bread and butter and will get this project. Six months down the road the customer will see a lot of hours billed to the project and detailed explanations of “unforeseen circumstances” followed by new promises.
We’ve seen this scenario several times – it doesn’t depend on the technology in use. Today it’s e-commerce, but six years ago I wrote a blog about a similar scenario, but that time it was about redesigning a portal for a major publisher. Software developers hate working on such projects. They don’t know that the customer has these unrealistic expectations because of some over-promising salesman.
What’s the moral of this story? We value a moral dimension to consulting, which costs us dearly.