Open vs. Transparent: Did FOSS, Linux, and Open Source Get it Wrong?: Page 3

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Wrapping Up and A Little Advice

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The best way to deal with a trust problem is simply to choose not to do business with companies you can’t trust. And for everyone else, make sure trust is backed up with solid research into whether the company can actually execute. It amazes me how many people trust companies to provide solutions that the providing companies own IT organizations won’t even deploy, and how few companies actually, for multi-million dollar deals, do any due diligence with companies who have been held up as reference customers.

If you are trying to deal with a trust problem, Open probably won’t be much help. You want transparency and to get that you need a relationship with someone in the company who has a clue. This is as true of RedHat as it is of Microsoft, and let’s be clear, sales and marketing departments are often not included in the “has a clue” group. You need a line manager – and one that is high enough so that they’re actually in the decision loop surrounding the critical product or service you are depending on to work.

Using Microsoft as an example, and I used to survey for this extensively, there are a lot of CIOs that trust the company less than any other firm; there is a near equal number that trusts them more. The difference is the second group has relationships with the company that solves the transparency problem (by the way, not all executive relationships work, I’m only saying that, for the companies who trust Microsoft, those relationships are working).

I’ll close with this thought: if you can’t fix a trust problem, it’s time to pick another executive relationship (it may surprise you to find out that some executives are empty suits, or worse, intentionally dishonest). This is particularly true if other firms aren’t having the same problem with your problem vendor. Or, at last resort, you need to pick another vendor and consider creating better criteria for selecting vendors in the first place.

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