In my thirty years in the IT industry, I’ve been on both sides of the customer / vendor equation. I spent my first 20 years primarily in the retail vertical market in roles from programmer/analyst, to architect, to VP and CIO. Over those years I worked with a wide variety of vendors in the hardware, software, and consulting industries. Some were pleasant and productive, others were not. I’ve had difficult support calls with unknowledgeable vendor support staff, pricing games, black-box products, and attempts at vendor lock-in, but I also had positive experiences where the vendor cared about our success as much as we did.
I’ve spent the last eleven years of my career as a software vendor. A group of us formed JumpMind with principles and values centered around being a true partner for our customers. Our partnership values include:
- Solving problems, not selling software – When we meet with customers, we don’t go in with a loaded agenda. We listen to what the customer wants, help them determine if we have tools, technology, and people that can help, and if so, we talk turkey. We’re always upfront about what’s strong, what’s not, what’s tried and true and what’s coming soon. We don’t play pricing games with a base price and a 90% discount. We tell customers what things will cost, and then offer a small discount if the customer wants to partner with us and tell others what we’ve done together.
- Architectural and product quality – We believe architecture comes first and sets the foundation for quality software. We strive for technically elegant, but simple solutions. Our architecture results in quality, speed, and agility for our customers.
- Product openness – We always want our customers to be able to look under the covers of our software. We’re an open book and we’re proud of what’s in there. We have an open core strategy, so much of our software is open source. What isn’t open source is available to our customers through access to our git repos. Browse, investigate how something works, or make an enhancement via pull request. Our customers can dive in at any level at which they feel comfortable.
- Implementation excellence – Our implementation engineers have been there, and done that. They know the software, they know the industry, and frankly, they have a “dog with a bone” attitude. We have never failed an implementation, and all of our customers are referenceable.
- Knowledgeable and helpful support – I broke a phone while on a support call once. It was a gift from my wife’s parents. Not a proud moment, and yes, I’m still married, but we’ve all had those frustrating support experiences. JumpMind’s support staff is manned by engineers who wrote the software. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they are also good communicators, problem solvers, and understand the urgency and stress of a support situation. We are routinely praised by our customers for our high level of support and assistance.
Of course, partnerships go both ways, and we’re fortunate enough to have some of the best customers around. They have probably sold more of our software and services than we have, by simply telling people what we have done together and how we have treated each other during the process. For JumpMind, partnership truly matters.