Never have I seen a stranger vendor
"testimonial" given than that by the NSW Department of Primary
Industry's Warwick Lill of Sun Microsystems at Gartner's
data centre summit last week.
The presentation was billed as a Sun Microsystems 'solution
session', whereby Sun's data centre practice manager Gary Kelly
would interview Lill about
the Department's data centre reference implementation (with
Sun as key services partner, obviously).
After 20 minutes or so the little mock interview was
progressing nicely. The audience was gaining good insight into a
major IT project, and Kelly was starting to work in leading
questions like 'tell us how Sun has helped you deliver the
But then Kelly asked Lill to recount the initial design phase
of the project, and all of a sudden Lill didn't seem to be
describing Sun as doing the "terrific" work he'd said they'd done
"We bought a design I believe ... whereas Sun sold us a set of
hardware and software and professional services during the
implementation," Lill told the audience, and what I imagine was a
This sentiment goes against everything vendors ever preach. As
you well know, vendors never claim to sell hardware, software or
services. It's always 'solutions', and the designs around
Lill also told the audience the project was running late and
had been delayed for a number of reasons.
If the audience was in any doubt over what Lill meant by his
Sun comments though, they only had to wait till Kelly asked him
what he might do differently in the project if he had his time
Said Lill: "If I was doing it again, I think I'd spend more
time in the contract negotiation stage looking at the very fine
detail of what was proposed."
Now that is not something you expect your 'testimonial'
customer to say before an audience of onlookers.
Funnily enough, Kelly did not allow any time for