Discussion:
VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is absolutely critical
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Simon Clubley
2017-04-18 18:16:20 UTC
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"A little behind"? Very diplomatic. Thank you. How about pathetic? That
might be a little closer to reality. However, given our very limited
resources, I'll take looking ugly and watching our revenues continue to
grow any day.
Hello Clair,

It's not the layout of the website which is the real problem here, but
VSI reportedly being non-responsive to sales enquiries which is the
massive problem here.

Put simply, that is an absolute no-no.

You have got people here who want to throw easy money at you and even
they are not getting timely responses to questions. I can only imagine
how many sales opportunities you are losing from people who don't know
you as well as the people here do.

When I go looking for something and have multiple vendors to choose
from, then any vendor who can't even be bothered to answer my queries
gets an immediate massive black mark from me because I ask myself
one simple question:

If they can't be bothered to answer my questions before I buy
their product, then what kind of service will I receive once
they have my money ?

If you haven't done it already, you need a formal sales leads followup
system with reminders and followup tasks supported.

You are probably going to tell me that VSI is a very small company
with limited resources, but the simple fact is that to sell into the
enterprise market you need to be doing certain things and that takes
a certain minimum set of resources.

Whether VSI is big enough to do those things or whether VSI just needs
better organisation is something which only you can decide.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
c***@gmail.com
2017-04-18 18:57:46 UTC
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Post by Simon Clubley
You are probably going to tell me that VSI is a very small company
with limited resources, but the simple fact is that to sell into the
enterprise market you need to be doing certain things and that takes
a certain minimum set of resources.
OK, we are not big enough to do many of the things people would like to see us doing. We know that. On the other hand, we are selling into the enterprise market today. With no marketing whatsoever, an undesired but conscious decision, we can just barely keep up with the incoming RFQs. How much will we be able to do in the future? That's clearly TBD. But we are on a nice little upward swing and we are pleased with that.
David Froble
2017-04-18 19:24:44 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Simon Clubley
You are probably going to tell me that VSI is a very small company
with limited resources, but the simple fact is that to sell into the
enterprise market you need to be doing certain things and that takes
a certain minimum set of resources.
OK, we are not big enough to do many of the things people would like to see us doing. We know that. On the other hand, we are selling into the enterprise market today. With no marketing whatsoever, an undesired but conscious decision, we can just barely keep up with the incoming RFQs. How much will we be able to do in the future? That's clearly TBD. But we are on a nice little upward swing and we are pleased with that.
Sounds good to me. If I'm in a bit of a rush, I'll just become the "squeeky
wheel" until I get what I need.

It's amusing how there are those, mostly well meaning, that are telling people
how to drain the swamp while they are up to their asses in alligators.

:-)
Simon Clubley
2017-04-20 18:27:10 UTC
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Post by David Froble
It's amusing how there are those, mostly well meaning, that are telling people
how to drain the swamp while they are up to their asses in alligators.
Oh I see you have found out about the upcoming election as well.
Post by David Froble
:-)
:-)

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Hans Bachner
2017-04-18 19:55:17 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Simon Clubley
You are probably going to tell me that VSI is a very small company
with limited resources, but the simple fact is that to sell into the
enterprise market you need to be doing certain things and that takes
a certain minimum set of resources.
OK, we are not big enough to do many of the things people would like to see us doing. We know that. On the other hand, we are selling into the enterprise market today.
With no marketing whatsoever, an undesired but conscious decision, we can just barely keep up with the incoming RFQs.
You could probably save quite some quotes if you handed out a price list
to your (prospect) resellers. If I want to convince a customer that
going forward to/with VSI is a good idea I need a ball park number
regarding the cost to expect, not (yet) a detailed, individual quote.
Post by c***@gmail.com
How much will we be able to do in the future? That's clearly TBD. But we are on a nice little upward swing and we are pleased with that.
I'm sure most people here are pleased as well with your upward swing.

Hans.
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-19 00:06:45 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Simon Clubley
You are probably going to tell me that VSI is a very small company
with limited resources, but the simple fact is that to sell into the
enterprise market you need to be doing certain things and that takes
a certain minimum set of resources.
OK, we are not big enough to do many of the things people would like to
see us doing. We know that. On the other hand, we are selling into the
enterprise market today. With no marketing whatsoever, an undesired but
conscious decision, we can just barely keep up with the incoming RFQs.
How much will we be able to do in the future? That's clearly TBD. But
we are on a nice little upward swing and we are pleased with that.
Post the prices.

Not a huge fan of having to call a rep to get a price, as that approach
usually means many of the smaller orders fall through the cracks.
Busy sales reps — is there any other kind? — almost invariably
prioritize the bigger orders. That, and folks quickly learn to start
using back doors to get that data, which then tends to hides the costs
and the effort and the distractions. Trying to pry pricing and
ordering data out of... some organizations... whether either directly
or via their resellers has been... an experience. That's when the
quotes that are returned have prices that don't cause... project-ending
wincing, but that's fodder for several other discussions.


As for one of the entities that posts their product prices...

http://www.spacex.com/about/capabilities


As for more advanced approaches than a manually-maintained text file or
PDF pricebook or catalog... Some implement or integrate with ecommerce.

http://www.meadowsps.com/site/main/autoprice.htm
http://emsoftware.com/products/emcatalog/
https://www.configureone.com/capabilities/e-catalog-software/
https://www.pepperi.com/e-catalog-software/
etc...
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Jason Howe
2017-04-19 00:30:41 UTC
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Post by Stephen Hoffman
Post the prices.
Not a huge fan of having to call a rep to get a price, as that approach
usually means many of the smaller orders fall through the cracks.
Busy sales reps ??? is there any other kind? ??? almost invariably
prioritize the bigger orders. That, and folks quickly learn to start
using back doors to get that data, which then tends to hides the costs
and the effort and the distractions. Trying to pry pricing and
ordering data out of... some organizations... whether either directly
or via their resellers has been... an experience. That's when the
quotes that are returned have prices that don't cause... project-ending
wincing, but that's fodder for several other discussions.
Completely agree. As someone who researches and recommends solutions, a
transparent easy to get at pricing policy is invaluable. It lets me
know very quickly if I'm even in the same budetary ball-park.

If I need to jump through hoops to figure out how much a thing is going
to cost, that vendor very quickly goes to the bottom of my list. Maybe
their solution is the best, but they've just proven that they're
difficult to work with. Ease of interaction and transparent pricing
policy are things I and the folks who write budgets really appriciate.

--
Jason
Kerry Main
2017-04-19 01:21:28 UTC
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-----Original Message-----
Jason Howe via Info-vax
Sent: April 18, 2017 8:31 PM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
On Tue, 18 Apr 2017 20:06:45 -0400, Stephen Hoffman
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Post the prices.
Not a huge fan of having to call a rep to get a price, as that approach
usually means many of the smaller orders fall through the cracks.
Busy sales reps ??? is there any other kind? ??? almost invariably
prioritize the bigger orders. That, and folks quickly learn to start
using back doors to get that data, which then tends to hides the costs
and the effort and the distractions. Trying to pry pricing and
ordering data out of... some organizations... whether either
directly
Post by Stephen Hoffman
or via their resellers has been... an experience. That's when the
quotes that are returned have prices that don't cause...
project-ending
Post by Stephen Hoffman
wincing, but that's fodder for several other discussions.
Completely agree. As someone who researches and recommends
solutions, a
transparent easy to get at pricing policy is invaluable. It lets me
know very quickly if I'm even in the same budetary ball-park.
If I need to jump through hoops to figure out how much a thing is going
to cost, that vendor very quickly goes to the bottom of my list.
Maybe
their solution is the best, but they've just proven that they're
difficult to work with. Ease of interaction and transparent pricing
policy are things I and the folks who write budgets really appriciate.
You are falsely assuming all Customers pay the same price.

Vendors give larger Customers anywhere from 20-75% off list prices
depending on:
- quantity of products already in use
- strategic deal with large opportunity for much more future sales
- if there are other products included in the sale e.g. HW discounted
hugely, but their software and re-occurring (sometimes mandatory) annual
HW/SW support costs are not discounted (much)
- time of year .. one can usually get big discounts if it is end of
quarter or end of year and the Vendor Rep needs the Sale to make his/her
quota numbers.
- strategic sales if future license model is going to change. No Cust
wants to pay X and then hear 1-2 months later the vendor price for the
same item is X/2.

As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the Oracle
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)


Regards,

Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
David Froble
2017-04-19 13:30:44 UTC
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Post by Kerry Main
You are falsely assuming all Customers pay the same price.
Vendors give larger Customers anywhere from 20-75% off list prices
- quantity of products already in use
- strategic deal with large opportunity for much more future sales
- if there are other products included in the sale e.g. HW discounted
hugely, but their software and re-occurring (sometimes mandatory) annual
HW/SW support costs are not discounted (much)
- time of year .. one can usually get big discounts if it is end of
quarter or end of year and the Vendor Rep needs the Sale to make his/her
quota numbers.
- strategic sales if future license model is going to change. No Cust
wants to pay X and then hear 1-2 months later the vendor price for the
same item is X/2.
As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the Oracle
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)
Ya know, just personal opinion ...

I'm aware that it happens, but, just about all you mention is rather poor practice.

If only large customers get reasonable pricing, perhaps that's all the customers
there will be. IF a company can live on that, then what's wrong with taking the
same amounts from smaller customers?

My suggestion, come up with reasonable pricing, post it, and cut out all the BS.
Kerry Main
2017-04-19 14:08:25 UTC
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-----Original Message-----
David Froble via Info-vax
Sent: April 19, 2017 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
Post by Kerry Main
You are falsely assuming all Customers pay the same price.
Vendors give larger Customers anywhere from 20-75% off list prices
- quantity of products already in use
- strategic deal with large opportunity for much more future sales
- if there are other products included in the sale e.g. HW
discounted
Post by Kerry Main
hugely, but their software and re-occurring (sometimes mandatory)
annual
Post by Kerry Main
HW/SW support costs are not discounted (much)
- time of year .. one can usually get big discounts if it is end of
quarter or end of year and the Vendor Rep needs the Sale to make
his/her
Post by Kerry Main
quota numbers.
- strategic sales if future license model is going to change. No Cust
wants to pay X and then hear 1-2 months later the vendor price for the
same item is X/2.
As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the
Oracle
Post by Kerry Main
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)
Ya know, just personal opinion ...
I'm aware that it happens, but, just about all you mention is rather
poor
practice.
If only large customers get reasonable pricing, perhaps that's all the customers
there will be. IF a company can live on that, then what's wrong with taking the
same amounts from smaller customers?
My suggestion, come up with reasonable pricing, post it, and cut out
all
the BS.
This practice is not unique to the IT industry.

Its simply Sales 101 - the larger the volume, the more strategic the
Sale, the larger the discount.

If I go to a car dealer and say I want to buy 25 vehicles and you go to
the same rep to buy 1 vehicle, who do you think will get the bigger
discount? Who will get a call back sooner?

If you were in that Sales rep shoes with a mortgage to pay, would you
behave any differently?


Regards,

Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-19 14:29:55 UTC
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Post by David Froble
Ya know, just personal opinion ...
I'm aware that it happens, but, just about all you mention is rather poor practice.
If only large customers get reasonable pricing, perhaps that's all the
customers there will be. IF a company can live on that, then what's
wrong with taking the same amounts from smaller customers?
My suggestion, come up with reasonable pricing, post it, and cut out all the BS.
Ayup.

It's far too easy for the pricing folks and sales folks to bury
themselves in complexity, rather than in glory. And bury their
customers in frustration and grief and... well... here's a Linux
distro, let's just use that.

Simplicity makes for much easier online sales, too. High-touch sales
efforts are an anathema to maintaining entry-level pricing.

Many customers certainly do request discounts, which means various of
the vendors then inflate their list prices to offset for those
discounts, and variously add licensing tiers or volume discounts or
bundles or other complexity; to increase the costs of licensing
"larger" servers and gain a larger percentage of the sales revenue of a
larger and more expensive server, for instance. Other vendors just
give everybody that asks a discount. All of which adds varying
degrees of complexity to the sales efforts. Volume-based pricing also
tends to soak the smaller customers, and the smaller (new) deployments.
All of which makes great sense for expanding the installed base and
attracting new customers, of course. Not.

Simpler is better, and preferably working toward longer-term base
growth rather than shorter-term revenues.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
j***@yahoo.co.uk
2017-04-19 20:22:42 UTC
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Post by David Froble
Post by Kerry Main
You are falsely assuming all Customers pay the same price.
Vendors give larger Customers anywhere from 20-75% off list prices
- quantity of products already in use
- strategic deal with large opportunity for much more future sales
- if there are other products included in the sale e.g. HW discounted
hugely, but their software and re-occurring (sometimes mandatory) annual
HW/SW support costs are not discounted (much)
- time of year .. one can usually get big discounts if it is end of
quarter or end of year and the Vendor Rep needs the Sale to make his/her
quota numbers.
- strategic sales if future license model is going to change. No Cust
wants to pay X and then hear 1-2 months later the vendor price for the
same item is X/2.
As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the Oracle
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)
Ya know, just personal opinion ...
I'm aware that it happens, but, just about all you mention is rather poor practice.
If only large customers get reasonable pricing, perhaps that's all the customers
there will be. IF a company can live on that, then what's wrong with taking the
same amounts from smaller customers?
My suggestion, come up with reasonable pricing, post it, and cut out all the BS.
Depends on who the customer is.

Lots of smaller businesses are quite happy to buy via
the "put the price in the catalogue/website" approach
and some sellers are happy to watch the resulting sales
roll in. It worked very well (for a while) for DEC in
the UK (and later, in some European DEC operations)
when the DECdirect catalogues came out, with concise
product info, prices, and a responsive organisation
to handle the resulting business.

VSI are not likely to want to head that particular way.
Their business model is rather different from DEC/CPQ/HP.

Many corporate customers don't like catalogue-style
purchasing, for at least two reasons:

1) The corporate customer's "strategic sourcing" (aka
purchasing) department must justify their existence.
So they likely have a perverse incentive to "maximise
discount" rather than the more useful "minimise cost".
Published realistic prices don't help them achieve
their "maximum discount" targets. Published over the
top prices (e.g. Oracle) help that, but can discourage
smaller customers.

You can see this in lots of market sectors where
corporate rules are followed, not just IT. E.g. The
number of corporates using outfits like Amex for travel
services, so their costs could be "monitored" rather
than minimised.

2) "The channel" (resellers etc) have a similar problem
in a different form - if the product manufacturer is
priced attractively and performs well, what's left for
the salesfolk and others in "the channel"?

Maybe things work differently in the US. But I'd be
surprised. Sometimes I'm surprised.

So, which businesses operate successfully in a
lowish volume highish value OS market? Are there
any examples to follow?

E.g. do Wind River Systems publish realistic prices
for their development and deployment setups? They
didn't when I was in that market.

Microsoft and resellers obviously publish some prices
but (a) nobody pays them (b) nobody understands them
(a 30+ page document on how to buy Visual Studio?)



I'd love to see transparent pricing for VSIVMS, either
as a traditional pay-once product and/or as a Periodic
Payment Licence scheme, or whatever. It may not happen
overnight though.
c***@gmail.com
2017-04-19 21:48:54 UTC
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RE: Price List

While this is not the type of thing I normally give any attention, I was curious enough to go ask. The VSI Price List contains over 25,000 individual order numbers; I believe that includes support options. From what I heard, I doubt it will ever be posted anywhere. I assume it was modeled after HP's list and there was probably a reason for that.

And, we have an official follow-up process for inquiries.

That's it; I served my time on this one. Back to work.
j***@yahoo.co.uk
2017-04-20 08:03:00 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
RE: Price List
While this is not the type of thing I normally give any attention, I was curious enough to go ask. The VSI Price List contains over 25,000 individual order numbers; I believe that includes support options. From what I heard, I doubt it will ever be posted anywhere. I assume it was modeled after HP's list and there was probably a reason for that.
And, we have an official follow-up process for inquiries.
That's it; I served my time on this one. Back to work.
Thanks - it's appreaciated.

People here hopefully understand that this stuff here
isn't what Clair should be doing. Maybe someone somewhere
in VSI (or a suitable sales partner) needs to be seen to
be looking at it, eventually.

For reference, the whole part numbers to prices list for
the stuff in the DECdirect UK catalogue (yes, them again)
fitted in readable print on maybe four sheets of A4 paper.
Want it, find it, call 0800 393200, buy it - job done.
Doesn't work for everyone, but this model covered a lot
of cases back then, and maybe could cover a large
proportion of VSI's potential business too, one day.
Simon Clubley
2017-04-20 19:01:09 UTC
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Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
Post by c***@gmail.com
RE: Price List
While this is not the type of thing I normally give any attention, I was
curious enough to go ask. The VSI Price List contains over 25,000
individual order numbers; I believe that includes support options. From
what I heard, I doubt it will ever be posted anywhere. I assume it was
modeled after HP's list and there was probably a reason for that.
I'm having a really hard time understanding how the VSI Price List can
contain _25,000_ order numbers. That seems to me like an insane amount
of order numbers especially given that VSI is purely a software company
and not a large international combined hardware/software company.
Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
Post by c***@gmail.com
And, we have an official follow-up process for inquiries.
That's it; I served my time on this one. Back to work.
Thanks - it's appreaciated.
Likewise. My name's probably not exactly popular with some people
at VSI at the moment but I hope they understand that I (and others)
are just trying to help and to make positive suggestions.
Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
People here hopefully understand that this stuff here
isn't what Clair should be doing. Maybe someone somewhere
in VSI (or a suitable sales partner) needs to be seen to
be looking at it, eventually.
I think one of the marketing people at VSI should be monitoring
the VSI specific threads here so they can offer feedback or ask
for clarifications. Those threads routinely contain comments and
suggestions by a good number of people that VSI would find useful;
either to know about or to actually act on.
Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
For reference, the whole part numbers to prices list for
the stuff in the DECdirect UK catalogue (yes, them again)
fitted in readable print on maybe four sheets of A4 paper.
Want it, find it, call 0800 393200, buy it - job done.
Doesn't work for everyone, but this model covered a lot
of cases back then, and maybe could cover a large
proportion of VSI's potential business too, one day.
It's a little depressing that I instantly recognised that phone
number after 20+ years... :-)

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-20 23:22:24 UTC
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Post by Simon Clubley
I'm having a really hard time understanding how the VSI Price List can
contain _25,000_ order numbers. That seems to me like an insane amount
of order numbers especially given that VSI is purely a software company
and not a large international combined hardware/software company.
Welcome to the business practices and pricing equivalent of the
generations-old legacy software code base.

As a guess, there's maybe a hundred unique pieces of software at VSI.
There should be less than that, as having IP separately-installed and
not integrated and always-installed is... nuts. But I digress.

The rest of the part numbers are an entirely self-inflicted mess, and
unfortunately also customer-inflicted.

These complexification efforts include license tiers and sockets and
units and cores, and with individual and aggregate packages (e.g. CMS
in DECset, and CMS offered separately), and with or without three or
four tiers of support and different terms, and with various media and
documentation delivery options available, permutations permute. This
often to charge more for the same software bits on more expensive
server configurations, while also granting discounts for larger
purchases of specific goods or services. Pretty soon a hundred
unique software packages becomes 25K order numbers.

It took DEC decades to build this. HPE, HP and Compaq had their own
versions of this, too.
http://web.mit.edu/humor/Computers/lunch.the.hp.way But I digress.

Disassembling these business models incautiously can cause revenue
surprises, though. When the vendor can be disabused. VSI has
indicated that they're planning on simplifying this morass.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Robert A. Brooks
2017-04-21 03:28:30 UTC
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As a guess, there's maybe a hundred unique pieces of software at VSI. There
should be less than that, as having IP separately-installed and not integrated
and always-installed is... nuts. But I digress.
Coming soon; the next functional release of VMS on IA64 will have a
completely-integrated TCP/IP stack. In fact, that's the major goal of that
release. There will be other niceties, of course, but TCP/IP integration is the
major feature of the release code-named Tewksbury.
--
-- Rob
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-21 13:51:19 UTC
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Post by Robert A. Brooks
Post by Stephen Hoffman
As a guess, there's maybe a hundred unique pieces of software at VSI.
There should be less than that, as having IP separately-installed and
not integrated and always-installed is... nuts. But I digress.
Coming soon; the next functional release of VMS on IA64 will have a
completely-integrated TCP/IP stack. In fact, that's the major goal of
that release. There will be other niceties, of course, but TCP/IP
integration is the major feature of the release code-named Tewksbury.
Hopefully more details will be available as that release approaches.
If I don't have to conditionalize calls and checks, and if the IP
configuration is rolled into the base OpenVMS installation and not
treated as TCPIP$ whatsit pieces, and the configuration complexity and
username creation and the rest is greatly simplified.... Good news.
I'm already expecting to have to shuffle around somewhat to deal with
VSI IP management. Then there's dragging IP support forward, though
the Process Software was ahead of the TCP/IP Services bits.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Arne Vajhøj
2017-04-20 23:46:56 UTC
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Post by Simon Clubley
Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
For reference, the whole part numbers to prices list for
the stuff in the DECdirect UK catalogue (yes, them again)
fitted in readable print on maybe four sheets of A4 paper.
Want it, find it, call 0800 393200, buy it - job done.
Doesn't work for everyone, but this model covered a lot
of cases back then, and maybe could cover a large
proportion of VSI's potential business too, one day.
It's a little depressing that I instantly recognised that phone
number after 20+ years... :-)
I also remember the DEC number in Denmark from back in the late
80's ...

Arne
Scott Dorsey
2017-04-21 10:58:51 UTC
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Post by Simon Clubley
I'm having a really hard time understanding how the VSI Price List can
contain _25,000_ order numbers. That seems to me like an insane amount
of order numbers especially given that VSI is purely a software company
and not a large international combined hardware/software company.
I happened that way because HP made it that way.

I'm at a government site, I can buy Fortran at list price with one part
number, or off the GSA contract with another number, or off the SEWP
contract which was negotiated differently with a third number. My friend
at the university can buy with a fourth number for an academic price, or
maybe he can buy a bundled configuration with a fifth number.

This is how folks like HP work, and I can understand how in the long run
VSI might choose to work differently, but how it might take them some time
to clean up the mess that HP left them.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
j***@yahoo.co.uk
2017-04-21 12:05:43 UTC
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Post by Scott Dorsey
Post by Simon Clubley
I'm having a really hard time understanding how the VSI Price List can
contain _25,000_ order numbers. That seems to me like an insane amount
of order numbers especially given that VSI is purely a software company
and not a large international combined hardware/software company.
I happened that way because HP made it that way.
I'm at a government site, I can buy Fortran at list price with one part
number, or off the GSA contract with another number, or off the SEWP
contract which was negotiated differently with a third number. My friend
at the university can buy with a fourth number for an academic price, or
maybe he can buy a bundled configuration with a fifth number.
This is how folks like HP work, and I can understand how in the long run
VSI might choose to work differently, but how it might take them some time
to clean up the mess that HP left them.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Isn't the administrative brain wonderful.

I seem to recall an IT sales organisation (readers may
be able to guess its name) that back in the 1990s was
able to combine a standard part number (all customers
use the same part number for the same product) with a
customer-specific account number, and calculate customer-
specific discounted prices based on the combination of the
two. Weren't databases wonderful.

No need for customer-specific part numbers for the same
product. For those who want customer-specific discounts,
they can have them (if it makes sense), and the discounts
can even vary from one class of product to another. For
everyone else, there's list price, or maybe list minus
whatever margin a reseller (buying at reseller discount)
is willing to sacrifice.

All done automagically other than setting up the system
in the first place, and a simple annual (or other)
administrative review of product discounts and such for
customers who qualify.

An interesting question to ask of the pricefile clerks who
come up with this ridiculous pricefile sprawl would be to
identify how much revenue came from each part number in
a typical year. When I looked at this kind of thing many
years ago, there were huge numbers of part numbers with
zero or negligible revenue. They existed for no visible
reason. It was allegedly simpler to leave them around
than get rid of them.

Maybe it's not changed much (yet). Maybe it doesn't have
to change, if it's not costing anything? But there does
need to be a simpler way too, by the sound of things.
Scott Dorsey
2017-04-21 12:43:16 UTC
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Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
I seem to recall an IT sales organisation (readers may
be able to guess its name) that back in the 1990s was
able to combine a standard part number (all customers
use the same part number for the same product) with a
customer-specific account number, and calculate customer-
specific discounted prices based on the combination of the
two. Weren't databases wonderful.
A number of places do this. If you can figure out what your competitor's
account number is, you can call up and ask for a price for the combined
part number and find out what he is paying for a product.

If you know the account numbers of a couple large corporations, you can
use that information to get some seriously useful information before you
go in to negotiate prices.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-20 15:11:27 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
RE: Price List
While this is not the type of thing I normally give any attention, I
was curious enough to go ask. The VSI Price List contains over 25,000
individual order numbers; I believe that includes support options. From
what I heard, I doubt it will ever be posted anywhere.
If y'all survive the startup phase, I'll take the other side of that bet.

Because a: it's a database and that's an easy problem to post and there
are already solutions available that provide such services, b: you're
going to want to add online sales and up-selling and online delivery
and updates and related tracking and it's all related, and c: you're
going to want to simplify the numbers of pieces and parts, as — at your
current and near-term scale — this sort of complexity is not
sustainable and somebody is going to start cutting a swath through all
that to simplify. This goes back to integrating and bundles, as — for
instance — IP isn't a separate feature in this era, it's fully
integrated.

Short term, there's no loss to posting list prices as a document or as
a database or database export. That gives us something to work with,
for pricing estimates. Because the selling prices are going to be
list, or (maybe) lower. Without interacting with a sales rep or two,
and tying up your reps' time.
Post by c***@gmail.com
I assume it was modeled after HP's list
Ayup. Fundamentally, this is the "We've always done it this way",
sans any reflection, consideration, adaption or change. Clearly
worked for DEC, too.
Post by c***@gmail.com
and there was probably a reason for that.
Again... You're not DEC. You know that. But do the VSI approaches
to the business really reflect that (yet)?
Post by c***@gmail.com
And, we have an official follow-up process for inquiries.
That's it; I served my time on this one. Back to work.
Ayup. Welcome to life in a small company. Or welcome back to
small-company life, as the case may be.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
t***@glaver.org
2017-04-21 06:56:34 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
While this is not the type of thing I normally give any attention, I was
curious enough to go ask. The VSI Price List contains over 25,000 individual
order numbers; I believe that includes support options. From what I heard, I
doubt it will ever be posted anywhere. I assume it was modeled after HP's list > and there was probably a reason for that.
"Because we've always done it this way"? My understanding is that lots of VSI
folks are ex-Digits. That's great from a software engineering point of view,
but terrible for a marketing point of view. Look where it got DEC, Compaq and
HP.

DEC had a part number (or 10) for everything. A BCxx cable also had a couple
different 2-5-2 part numbers and was usually also available in a "kit" that
was likely a cable, a carton, and (maybe) an anti-static strap. Most of those
part numbers were not orderable without calling Special Parts and getting a
"Product Demand Quote". It was quite possible to "game the system" by ordering
one of the variant part numbers, since they almost always had different prices
for the same thing. That's also the problem that led to the LAT and MSCP proto-
col specs being orderable. As an example, I give you the "Carton, revision H3". If DEC had 8 major revisions and at least 3 minor revisions for a plain cardboard shipping box, imagine how much time was lost by all concerned.

Having lots of part numbers also leads to the user getting something that
doesn't work properly (a computer with disk drives and no controller, or
product support that doesn't have access to support).

DEC, Compaq, and HP had lots of people dedicated to solving these screwups. Yet
everybody here likely has a personal recollection of some unsolveable issue, no
matter how many people the supplier and customer threw at the problem.

The "Chinese menu" method is likely to be a lot easier to implement and allows
for easy upgrades. For example:

Base VMS license - P/N V0001
Distribution media, DVD-ROM - P/N D0001
Dual-socket license upgrade - P/N M0001
Support, 12-month term, 8 x 5 - P/N S0001
Support upgrade, dual-socket system (pro-rated) - P/N S0002
Support upgrade, 24 x 7 (pro-rated) - P/N S0003

So a customer buying a single-processor box w/ basic support orders V0001, D0001, S0001. If they want to add a second processor, they just order M0001 and S0002, and S0002 is pro-rated based on the number of months remaining on the contract.

Later on, if they decide they need 24 x 7 support, they order S0003, again pro-rated.

This avoids the need to cancel the whole thing and re-order, handles mid-year up/downgrades, etc.

The DEC solution was to have a single part number that covered all of these characteristics, which leads to an explosion of part numbers which benefit
neither the vendor or the customer. Or the reseller, when you get to that point.
j***@yahoo.co.uk
2017-04-21 08:48:34 UTC
Reply
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Post by t***@glaver.org
Post by c***@gmail.com
While this is not the type of thing I normally give any attention, I was
curious enough to go ask. The VSI Price List contains over 25,000 individual
order numbers; I believe that includes support options. From what I heard, I
doubt it will ever be posted anywhere. I assume it was modeled after HP's list > and there was probably a reason for that.
"Because we've always done it this way"? My understanding is that lots of VSI
folks are ex-Digits. That's great from a software engineering point of view,
but terrible for a marketing point of view. Look where it got DEC, Compaq and
HP.
DEC had a part number (or 10) for everything. A BCxx cable also had a couple
different 2-5-2 part numbers and was usually also available in a "kit" that
was likely a cable, a carton, and (maybe) an anti-static strap. Most of those
part numbers were not orderable without calling Special Parts and getting a
"Product Demand Quote". It was quite possible to "game the system" by ordering
one of the variant part numbers, since they almost always had different prices
for the same thing. That's also the problem that led to the LAT and MSCP proto-
col specs being orderable. As an example, I give you the "Carton, revision H3". If DEC had 8 major revisions and at least 3 minor revisions for a plain cardboard shipping box, imagine how much time was lost by all concerned.
Having lots of part numbers also leads to the user getting something that
doesn't work properly (a computer with disk drives and no controller, or
product support that doesn't have access to support).
DEC, Compaq, and HP had lots of people dedicated to solving these screwups. Yet
everybody here likely has a personal recollection of some unsolveable issue, no
matter how many people the supplier and customer threw at the problem.
The "Chinese menu" method is likely to be a lot easier to implement and allows
Base VMS license - P/N V0001
Distribution media, DVD-ROM - P/N D0001
Dual-socket license upgrade - P/N M0001
Support, 12-month term, 8 x 5 - P/N S0001
Support upgrade, dual-socket system (pro-rated) - P/N S0002
Support upgrade, 24 x 7 (pro-rated) - P/N S0003
So a customer buying a single-processor box w/ basic support orders V0001, D0001, S0001. If they want to add a second processor, they just order M0001 and S0002, and S0002 is pro-rated based on the number of months remaining on the contract.
Later on, if they decide they need 24 x 7 support, they order S0003, again pro-rated.
This avoids the need to cancel the whole thing and re-order, handles mid-year up/downgrades, etc.
The DEC solution was to have a single part number that covered all of these characteristics, which leads to an explosion of part numbers which benefit
neither the vendor or the customer. Or the reseller, when you get to that point.
One of the reasons for the "different part numbers for the
same thing" syndrome was management stovepipes in DEC (and
presumably CPQ and HP). E.g. the graphics cards known
internally as TGA cards, and externally as ZLXp-E1 (E2, E3)
and occasionally referenced as 21030-based cards (because
they were based on DEC's 21030 chip family) were usable in
PCI-based Alpha systems.

Depending on which stovepipe's system was involved, the
customer-orderable part number might be (e.g.) PBXGA-AA or
PBXGA-AN. For basically the same card in the same carton,
but different product management stovepipes/groups wanted
to be credited for the sale depending on whether it went
in an NT box or a VMS/UNIX box. Marvellous.

This madness actually cost DEC money, not just because of
excess complexity, but because of unnecessary support
calls etc from people who thought they'd been shipped the
wrong card, from resellers having to stock two sets of
identical packages where one would have done, and so on.
But the product management stovepipes got their metrics,
and some other suckers picked up the costs of unnecessary
complexity, extra stock, extra support calls, etc.

CPQ had a similar challenge where (for example) a laptop
storage device would would have two part numbers, one to
use if it was ordered as an add-on, and a *different*
one to use if the same part was being ordered as spares,
ie replacement parts.

Most of this stuff didn't need to be visible to customers
but once the business builds all this stuff into something
like an SAP implementation, it gets real difficult to make
radical changes, e.g make it reflect what paying customers
actually care about.

Which, again, leads to DECdirect. Hide the complexity.
Deliver what most customers mostly wanted, the way they
wanted it, at a sensible price. No need for an "account
management team" or other management to get in the way
of things happening in a timely and cost-effective
manner - UNLESS the management team can add value (e.g.
very special discounts for very special customers).

Different rules may apply for a business which is focused
on custom services rather than pricebook product. And yet,
RedHat seem to have made software support into a pricebook
business.

It's now 2017. VSI isn't HP or Compaq or DEC. It hopefully
doesn't have that "stovepipe"-style organisation. When the
time comes it can hopefully learn from DEC's weaknesses as
well as the strengths. Maybe they can learn from RedHat etc
too.

Meanwhile for the workers, it's Friday so there must be
deadlines to meet :)

Have a lot of fun.
Scott Dorsey
2017-04-21 12:38:56 UTC
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Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
Depending on which stovepipe's system was involved, the
customer-orderable part number might be (e.g.) PBXGA-AA or
PBXGA-AN. For basically the same card in the same carton,
but different product management stovepipes/groups wanted
to be credited for the sale depending on whether it went
in an NT box or a VMS/UNIX box. Marvellous.
Kodak was even worse, and for years Kodak was sort of my baseline example of
dysfunctional product distribution.

Kodak had a number of different kinds of dealers with different pipelines.
You could buy a box of 4x5 Super-XX Pan from an amateur products dealer
or from a professional products dealer, with different part numbers and
slight different prices.

But you could buy the same box of film from a graphic arts dealer at half
the price. Because printers used it for gravure separations.

On the other hand, a medical products dealer could get Super-XX at at all.
But the medical products dealer COULD get 16mm Tri-X, but at higher prices
than amateur dealers.

Colorcraft in Norfolk used to have several registers that were actually
owned by different corporations with different dealerships. I'd go in
and ask for something and they'd take me across the room to a different
register where the price would be better.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Bill Gunshannon
2017-04-21 12:50:04 UTC
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Post by Scott Dorsey
Post by j***@yahoo.co.uk
Depending on which stovepipe's system was involved, the
customer-orderable part number might be (e.g.) PBXGA-AA or
PBXGA-AN. For basically the same card in the same carton,
but different product management stovepipes/groups wanted
to be credited for the sale depending on whether it went
in an NT box or a VMS/UNIX box. Marvellous.
Kodak was even worse, and for years Kodak was sort of my baseline example of
dysfunctional product distribution.
Kodak had a number of different kinds of dealers with different pipelines.
You could buy a box of 4x5 Super-XX Pan from an amateur products dealer
or from a professional products dealer, with different part numbers and
slight different prices.
But you could buy the same box of film from a graphic arts dealer at half
the price. Because printers used it for gravure separations.
On the other hand, a medical products dealer could get Super-XX at at all.
But the medical products dealer COULD get 16mm Tri-X, but at higher prices
than amateur dealers.
Colorcraft in Norfolk used to have several registers that were actually
owned by different corporations with different dealerships. I'd go in
and ask for something and they'd take me across the room to a different
register where the price would be better.
--scott
________________________________

Ha!
I can give you the best one of all.
I used to own a Porsche 914. (Long time ago but I still miss that
car!) Anybody who knows Porsche models knows that this particular
model was built in a Carmen-Ghia factory, not in Stutgart. It had
a Bosch K-Jetronic Fuel Injection on a 4 cylinder VW engine. The
Injector Contacts which went in the distributor below the spark
points sold for $67.00. The exact same engine (minus a little
balancing and with different controller programming) was in the
VW Super Beetle. Injector Contacts cost $12.00. All depended
on which part number you used to ask for them. If you looked
at the mounting plate you could find the Bosch part number which
was the same on both of them. But we all know a purist would
never put a VW part in their Porsche. :-)

So, we are not the only industry that does stupid stuff.

bill
Arne Vajhøj
2017-04-21 23:57:56 UTC
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Post by Bill Gunshannon
I can give you the best one of all.
I used to own a Porsche 914. (Long time ago but I still miss that
car!) Anybody who knows Porsche models knows that this particular
model was built in a Carmen-Ghia factory, not in Stutgart.
Karmann Ghia

:-)

Arne
Bill Gunshannon
2017-04-22 00:23:49 UTC
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Post by Arne Vajhøj
Post by Bill Gunshannon
I can give you the best one of all.
I used to own a Porsche 914. (Long time ago but I still miss that
car!) Anybody who knows Porsche models knows that this particular
model was built in a Carmen-Ghia factory, not in Stutgart.
Karmann Ghia
:-)
Arne
That's what happens when your typing fast and trying to keep tabs
on a 4 year old at the same time. :-)

bill
Scott Dorsey
2017-04-19 14:11:31 UTC
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Post by Kerry Main
Vendors give larger Customers anywhere from 20-75% off list prices
- quantity of products already in use
- strategic deal with large opportunity for much more future sales
- if there are other products included in the sale e.g. HW discounted
hugely, but their software and re-occurring (sometimes mandatory) annual
HW/SW support costs are not discounted (much)
- time of year .. one can usually get big discounts if it is end of
quarter or end of year and the Vendor Rep needs the Sale to make his/her
quota numbers.
- strategic sales if future license model is going to change. No Cust
wants to pay X and then hear 1-2 months later the vendor price for the
same item is X/2.
Yes, absolutely. That's what list prices are for! List prices are what
you put on your website, so that you can then offer discounts from that
point.

List prices are the starting point from which everybody negotiates, and
that's why you should have them on the website.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Bill Gunshannon
2017-04-19 14:44:07 UTC
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Post by Scott Dorsey
Post by Kerry Main
Vendors give larger Customers anywhere from 20-75% off list prices
- quantity of products already in use
- strategic deal with large opportunity for much more future sales
- if there are other products included in the sale e.g. HW discounted
hugely, but their software and re-occurring (sometimes mandatory) annual
HW/SW support costs are not discounted (much)
- time of year .. one can usually get big discounts if it is end of
quarter or end of year and the Vendor Rep needs the Sale to make his/her
quota numbers.
- strategic sales if future license model is going to change. No Cust
wants to pay X and then hear 1-2 months later the vendor price for the
same item is X/2.
Yes, absolutely. That's what list prices are for! List prices are what
you put on your website, so that you can then offer discounts from that
point.
List prices are the starting point from which everybody negotiates, and
that's why you should have them on the website.
--scott
Unless, of course, your dealing with people like me who don't think
haggling is a necessary part of a purchase. When I buy things I look
at a number of vendors. I certainly don't buy from the most expensive,
but I also don't buy from the the who's ad say "Call for a price".

Silly practices make even less sense when your the only who can provide
a product, like VMS. Only one manufacturer. Not at all like buying a
car.

bill
Arne Vajhøj
2017-04-19 23:26:26 UTC
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Post by Bill Gunshannon
Post by Scott Dorsey
Yes, absolutely. That's what list prices are for! List prices are what
you put on your website, so that you can then offer discounts from that
point.
List prices are the starting point from which everybody negotiates, and
that's why you should have them on the website.
Unless, of course, your dealing with people like me who don't think
haggling is a necessary part of a purchase. When I buy things I look
at a number of vendors. I certainly don't buy from the most expensive,
but I also don't buy from the the who's ad say "Call for a price".
When I see "Call for a price" or similar I always read it as
"bloody expensive".

If the price was attractive they would love to make it public.

Arne
Craig A. Berry
2017-04-20 02:31:31 UTC
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Post by Arne Vajhøj
When I see "Call for a price" or similar I always read it as
"bloody expensive".
If the price was attractive they would love to make it public.
You'd think. But from the one quote I've seen VSI prices are very
attractive compared to HPE yet they do not publish them. They also don't
do much to emphasize the advantages they have, such as buying a 3-year
contract now getting you upgrade rights to x86_64 when available. As far
as I know, this will be the first time in the history of VMS that you
can get new hardware without paying for new licenses.
Simon Clubley
2017-04-20 18:37:41 UTC
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Post by Craig A. Berry
Post by Arne Vajhøj
When I see "Call for a price" or similar I always read it as
"bloody expensive".
If the price was attractive they would love to make it public.
You'd think. But from the one quote I've seen VSI prices are very
attractive compared to HPE yet they do not publish them. They also don't
do much to emphasize the advantages they have, such as buying a 3-year
contract now getting you upgrade rights to x86_64 when available. As far
as I know, this will be the first time in the history of VMS that you
can get new hardware without paying for new licenses.
In that case, VSI should be making all these advantages _very_
clear in all public documentation because the above items are
really good selling points for VSI.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Arne Vajhøj
2017-04-20 23:48:22 UTC
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Post by Craig A. Berry
Post by Arne Vajhøj
When I see "Call for a price" or similar I always read it as
"bloody expensive".
If the price was attractive they would love to make it public.
You'd think. But from the one quote I've seen VSI prices are very
attractive compared to HPE yet they do not publish them.
Unless their contract with HP prohibits it then that sort of info
should be screamed out to the world.

Arne
Bob Koehler
2017-04-20 13:16:03 UTC
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Post by Arne Vajhøj
When I see "Call for a price" or similar I always read it as
"bloody expensive".
We called Oracle for a price once, and thier response was "What
would you like to pay?"

To bad I wasnt on that phone call. I'd have let them know.
Paul Sture
2017-04-21 07:40:01 UTC
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Post by Bob Koehler
Post by Arne Vajhøj
When I see "Call for a price" or similar I always read it as
"bloody expensive".
We called Oracle for a price once, and thier response was "What
would you like to pay?"
To bad I wasnt on that phone call. I'd have let them know.
I once saw a comment that Oracle have a pretty accurate idea of what it
would cost each customer to migrate away from them, so for contract
renewals they can get away with bidding "that amount less one dollar".

The difference is obviously substantially more than "one dollar".

Giving the customer team the chance to beat Oracle's bid by digging
in their pockets for loose change wouldn't be good publicity :-)
--
The First of April: The only day of the year that people critically
evaluate news stories before believing them.
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-20 15:21:15 UTC
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When I see "Call for a price" or similar I always read it as "bloody
expensive".
And that they're going to email and call, too. That's what good sales reps do.
If the price was attractive they would love to make it public.
There are already known issues here. I've had various customer
projects fall through, once the quotes were received. Getting folks
from single-node configurations into cluster configurations could be a
bigger user and app lock-in, and not a pricing lock-out, for instance.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Arne Vajhøj
2017-04-19 23:24:52 UTC
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Post by Kerry Main
As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the Oracle
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)
But even Oracle publish a price list !!

http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/price-lists/index.html

Arne
Kerry Main
2017-04-20 00:23:04 UTC
Reply
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-----Original Message-----
Vajhøj via Info-vax
Sent: April 19, 2017 7:25 PM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
Post by Kerry Main
As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the
Oracle
Post by Kerry Main
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)
But even Oracle publish a price list !!
http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/price-lists/index.html
Arne
Not that I am against some form of online pricing, but as someone
earlier in the thread stated, there is also the "what good is a
published price list, when no one of any size actually pays those
prices?"

In addition, if I was a competitor to Oracle, I could use their list
pricing to show how fantastic my pricing was compared to Oracle .. even
though I knew the pricing comparison was bogus.

Not unique to Oracle .. other vendors do the same thing.

Fwiw, I do like the Red Hat model of publishing their monthly support
subscription costs via a drop dead simple web configurator:
<https://www.redhat.com/en/store/red-hat-enterprise-linux-server-virtual
#?sku=RH00005>

They also have a subscription marketing brochure that describes their
subscription model at:
<https://www.redhat.com/en/files/resources/rh-vos-whitepaper-inc0341635r
m-v3-201601-en.pdf>

As I have stated before, the beauty of the Red Hat model is it avoids
Customers paying up front licenses that are high profile, high
visibility CAPEX costs that usually requires senior mgmt. approval.
Instead their model focusses on back end monthly support subscription
pricing based on OPEX pricing which only the Operations Mgr has to
approve. Typically this RH support subscription approval is buried in a
single line on the annual OPS budget.

This is the primary reason why Linux was able to "sneak into" many
organizations without Senior Mgmt being involved.


Regards,

Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
Ian Miller
2017-04-20 08:54:26 UTC
Reply
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Post by Kerry Main
-----Original Message-----
Vajhøj via Info-vax
Sent: April 19, 2017 7:25 PM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
Post by Kerry Main
As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the
Oracle
Post by Kerry Main
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)
But even Oracle publish a price list !!
http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/price-lists/index.html
Arne
Not that I am against some form of online pricing, but as someone
earlier in the thread stated, there is also the "what good is a
published price list, when no one of any size actually pays those
prices?"
In addition, if I was a competitor to Oracle, I could use their list
pricing to show how fantastic my pricing was compared to Oracle .. even
though I knew the pricing comparison was bogus.
Not unique to Oracle .. other vendors do the same thing.
Fwiw, I do like the Red Hat model of publishing their monthly support
<https://www.redhat.com/en/store/red-hat-enterprise-linux-server-virtual
#?sku=RH00005>
They also have a subscription marketing brochure that describes their
<https://www.redhat.com/en/files/resources/rh-vos-whitepaper-inc0341635r
m-v3-201601-en.pdf>
As I have stated before, the beauty of the Red Hat model is it avoids
Customers paying up front licenses that are high profile, high
visibility CAPEX costs that usually requires senior mgmt. approval.
Instead their model focusses on back end monthly support subscription
pricing based on OPEX pricing which only the Operations Mgr has to
approve. Typically this RH support subscription approval is buried in a
single line on the annual OPS budget.
This is the primary reason why Linux was able to "sneak into" many
organizations without Senior Mgmt being involved.
Regards,
Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
There was talk of VSI having a subscription model for OpenVMS licences but they are not there yet. Perhaps that will be a VMS V9 thing.

At present VSI appear to be a engineering led company - there are advantages and disadvantages to that. They may need to improve their sales processes but Clair is not the person you should be asking and I guess the person or persons you should be asking don't read this newsgroup. Contact VSI directly to give feedback on their sales process.
Kerry Main
2017-04-22 16:00:20 UTC
Reply
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-----Original Message-----
Miller via Info-vax
Sent: April 20, 2017 4:54 AM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
[snip..]
Post by Kerry Main
As I have stated before, the beauty of the Red Hat model is it avoids
Customers paying up front licenses that are high profile, high
visibility CAPEX costs that usually requires senior mgmt. approval.
Instead their model focusses on back end monthly support
subscription
Post by Kerry Main
pricing based on OPEX pricing which only the Operations Mgr has to
approve. Typically this RH support subscription approval is buried in a
single line on the annual OPS budget.
This is the primary reason why Linux was able to "sneak into" many
organizations without Senior Mgmt being involved.
Regards,
Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
There was talk of VSI having a subscription model for OpenVMS licences
but they are not there yet. Perhaps that will be a VMS V9 thing.
At present VSI appear to be a engineering led company - there are
advantages and disadvantages to that. They may need to improve their
sales processes but Clair is not the person you should be asking and I
guess the person or persons you should be asking don't read this
newsgroup. Contact VSI directly to give feedback on their sales process.
Oh - I did not know that .. that’s good to know.

😊 😊


Regards,

Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
David Froble
2017-04-23 00:53:38 UTC
Reply
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Post by Kerry Main
-----Original Message-----
Miller via Info-vax
Sent: April 20, 2017 4:54 AM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
[snip..]
Post by Kerry Main
As I have stated before, the beauty of the Red Hat model is it avoids
Customers paying up front licenses that are high profile, high
visibility CAPEX costs that usually requires senior mgmt. approval.
Instead their model focusses on back end monthly support
subscription
Post by Kerry Main
pricing based on OPEX pricing which only the Operations Mgr has to
approve. Typically this RH support subscription approval is buried in a
single line on the annual OPS budget.
This is the primary reason why Linux was able to "sneak into" many
organizations without Senior Mgmt being involved.
Regards,
Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
There was talk of VSI having a subscription model for OpenVMS licences
but they are not there yet. Perhaps that will be a VMS V9 thing.
At present VSI appear to be a engineering led company - there are
advantages and disadvantages to that. They may need to improve their
sales processes but Clair is not the person you should be asking and I
guess the person or persons you should be asking don't read this
newsgroup. Contact VSI directly to give feedback on their sales process.
Oh - I did not know that .. that’s good to know.
http://www.vmssoftware.com/pdfs/VSI_Roadmap_20161205.pdf
I do not have an updated State of the Port. Sorry about that but I'll
try to get to it soon.
I miss one thing that was mentioned by the VSI folks (I think it
was, or if it was someone from HP) at the presentations held during
the event at IKEA IT HQ a month ago.
It was mentioned that, together with this once-in-a-lifetime release
of an VSI Alpha OpenVMS kit, there would also be a support option to
go with that release. And it was also mentioned that any such Alpha
support contract signed for 3 years (or more) would include a free
license migration to the VSI x86-64 OpenVMS version, when available.
To be clear, it's not a "support option". If you want the license
to run VSI OpenVMS Alpha V8.4-2L1, you need to pay for support, and
essentially get the licenses for free. One cannot pay for the licenses
and decline support, technically, although I suppose you could pay for
support but refuse to use it. In any event, there is no option
for HPE support; only VSI will support OpenVMS Alpha V8.4-2L1

It's my understanding that the license to run the software (the operating system
and layered products) does not have a termination date, such that one can pay
for support for, say, three years, but continue to run the software after three
years, but without support.

You get the licenses for all the layered products and SIPs, so if you've never
used Host-Based Volume Shadowing on Alpha, now is your chance to be dazzled by
the wonders of Host-Based Minimerge. If you've never experienced the wonders of
cluster formation, and the tingling feeling one gets at the console when you see
the OPCOM message "waiting to form or join an OpenVMS Cluster", your wait can
soon be over.
--
-- Rob

I also thought there was another post about support fees rather than license
fees, but didn't find it in a short search.

I do hope that VSI does move to support revenue, which is recurring, not one time.
Kerry Main
2017-04-23 02:01:39 UTC
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-----Original Message-----
David Froble via Info-vax
Sent: April 22, 2017 8:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
Post by Kerry Main
-----Original Message-----
Ian
Post by Kerry Main
Miller via Info-vax
Sent: April 20, 2017 4:54 AM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
[snip..]
Post by Kerry Main
As I have stated before, the beauty of the Red Hat model is it avoids
Customers paying up front licenses that are high profile, high
visibility CAPEX costs that usually requires senior mgmt. approval.
Instead their model focusses on back end monthly support
subscription
Post by Kerry Main
pricing based on OPEX pricing which only the Operations Mgr has to
approve. Typically this RH support subscription approval is buried in
a
Post by Kerry Main
Post by Kerry Main
single line on the annual OPS budget.
This is the primary reason why Linux was able to "sneak into" many
organizations without Senior Mgmt being involved.
Regards,
Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
There was talk of VSI having a subscription model for OpenVMS
licences
Post by Kerry Main
but they are not there yet. Perhaps that will be a VMS V9 thing.
At present VSI appear to be a engineering led company - there are
advantages and disadvantages to that. They may need to improve
their
Post by Kerry Main
sales processes but Clair is not the person you should be asking and I
guess the person or persons you should be asking don't read this
newsgroup. Contact VSI directly to give feedback on their sales
process.
Post by Kerry Main
Oh - I did not know that .. that’s good to know.
David, Sorry but in a friendly way, I was being a bit sarcastic .. Hence the smileys.

I was at DEC/Compaq/HP for 34 years and an active OpenVMS Ambassador for most of those years.
http://h41379.www4.hpe.com/ambassadors/

😊


Regards,

Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
Arne Vajhøj
2017-04-20 23:56:16 UTC
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Post by Kerry Main
-----Original Message-----
Post by Kerry Main
As a good example, very few large Customers pay even close to the Oracle
list prices of $50k per core. More likely, it is in the range of
$20K-$30K per core (ok, ridiculous pricing, but Cust's pay it)
But even Oracle publish a price list !!
http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/price-lists/index.html
Not that I am against some form of online pricing, but as someone
earlier in the thread stated, there is also the "what good is a
published price list, when no one of any size actually pays those
prices?"
It still gives a starting point.

And a good chunk of those customers will know approx. how big a
percentage discount from list price they can expect.
Post by Kerry Main
In addition, if I was a competitor to Oracle, I could use their list
pricing to show how fantastic my pricing was compared to Oracle .. even
though I knew the pricing comparison was bogus.
The customers will typical have some idea of what percentage discount
they can get from Oracle.

And Oracle does not seem to have done so bad financially.

:-)

Arne
Simon Clubley
2017-04-20 18:34:39 UTC
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Post by Kerry Main
-----Original Message-----
Jason Howe via Info-vax
Sent: April 18, 2017 8:31 PM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
Completely agree. As someone who researches and recommends
solutions, a
transparent easy to get at pricing policy is invaluable. It lets me
know very quickly if I'm even in the same budetary ball-park.
If I need to jump through hoops to figure out how much a thing is
going
to cost, that vendor very quickly goes to the bottom of my list.
Maybe
their solution is the best, but they've just proven that they're
difficult to work with. Ease of interaction and transparent pricing
policy are things I and the folks who write budgets really appriciate.
You are falsely assuming all Customers pay the same price.
Jason is correct (and I'm glad to see someone else say the same
things).

Your big customer already knows how much discount they are likely
to get for a specific type of purchase so they can still use the
list price to get a good initial idea of the price to them before
they decide whether it's worthwhile contacting the vendor.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Simon Clubley
2017-04-20 18:25:56 UTC
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Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Simon Clubley
You are probably going to tell me that VSI is a very small company
with limited resources, but the simple fact is that to sell into the
enterprise market you need to be doing certain things and that takes
a certain minimum set of resources.
OK, we are not big enough to do many of the things people would like to see
us doing. We know that. On the other hand, we are selling into the enterprise
market today. With no marketing whatsoever, an undesired but conscious
decision, we can just barely keep up with the incoming RFQs. How much will we
be able to do in the future? That's clearly TBD. But we are on a nice little
upward swing and we are pleased with that.
I'm happy to see you get lots of RFQs (seriously; my comments are
intended to try and help) and I hope you are converting a good portion
of them into actual sales. This is also why it's a good idea to have
a formal sales lead tracking/activities system so that customers don't
get frustrated at seeing questions go unanswered and you can do
future followups on the quotations.

As for your future, if you formally track the incoming RFQs today,
then you may still get sales out of the ones which decline to buy today
when you contact them again as part of your followup processes in the
future.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
u***@gmail.com
2017-04-20 11:12:48 UTC
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Post by Simon Clubley
"A little behind"? Very diplomatic. Thank you. How about pathetic? That
might be a little closer to reality. However, given our very limited
resources, I'll take looking ugly and watching our revenues continue to
grow any day.
Hello Clair,
It's not the layout of the website which is the real problem here, but
VSI reportedly being non-responsive to sales enquiries which is the
massive problem here.
Put simply, that is an absolute no-no.
You have got people here who want to throw easy money at you and even
they are not getting timely responses to questions. I can only imagine
how many sales opportunities you are losing from people who don't know
you as well as the people here do.
When I go looking for something and have multiple vendors to choose
from, then any vendor who can't even be bothered to answer my queries
gets an immediate massive black mark from me because I ask myself
If they can't be bothered to answer my questions before I buy
their product, then what kind of service will I receive once
they have my money ?
If you haven't done it already, you need a formal sales leads followup
system with reminders and followup tasks supported.
You are probably going to tell me that VSI is a very small company
with limited resources, but the simple fact is that to sell into the
enterprise market you need to be doing certain things and that takes
a certain minimum set of resources.
Whether VSI is big enough to do those things or whether VSI just needs
better organisation is something which only you can decide.
Simon.
--
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
MARKETING 101 SAYS NEVER GIVE OUT A PRICE LIST.
PRICES SHOULD BE ADJUSTABLE. SAY LIKE GIVING A QUANTITY
DISCOUNT. MAYBE YOU WANT TO BEAT A QUOTE FROM A COMPETITOR.
IT IS CALLED BIDDING.
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-20 15:44:17 UTC
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Post by u***@gmail.com
MARKETING 101 SAYS NEVER GIVE OUT A PRICE LIST.
DEC published product list prices in a widely-available tome cleverly
known as the Digital Price Book, and also published varying subsets of
products and prices in the DECdirect catalogs, and in the online stores.

With online product sales, the prices have to be displayed prior to
closing the deal. Small purchases are also very far from an
economical use of a dedicated or partner sales team, too.

And yes, for interesting or specific or bigger deals, the sales reps
and management can choose to offer discounts below list; pricing below
list price.

But none of this precludes the usefulness of published list prices, as
it allows us (customers) to estimate a total project price without
engaging a vendor sales rep.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Arne Vajhøj
2017-04-20 23:44:28 UTC
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Post by u***@gmail.com
MARKETING 101 SAYS NEVER GIVE OUT A PRICE LIST.
Most companies actually do have price lists.
Post by u***@gmail.com
PRICES SHOULD BE ADJUSTABLE. SAY LIKE GIVING A QUANTITY
DISCOUNT. MAYBE YOU WANT TO BEAT A QUOTE FROM A COMPETITOR.
IT IS CALLED BIDDING.
Having a price list does not preclude giving a special
good offer.

Arne
David Froble
2017-04-21 00:12:06 UTC
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Post by u***@gmail.com
MARKETING 101 SAYS NEVER GIVE OUT A PRICE LIST.
I don't agree ....
Post by u***@gmail.com
PRICES SHOULD BE ADJUSTABLE. SAY LIKE GIVING A QUANTITY
DISCOUNT. MAYBE YOU WANT TO BEAT A QUOTE FROM A COMPETITOR.
IT IS CALLED BIDDING.
I sort of doubt that VSI has any competition.

I'd rather they come out with prices they can survive with, then say, "this is it".

Catering to a few large customers might seem like good revenue, but, what was
that "don't put all your eggs in one basket"? For VSI to grow, there must be
small customers, and such might easier use *ix. Might not want them to get upset.
Jason Howe
2017-04-21 04:56:24 UTC
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Post by David Froble
Post by u***@gmail.com
MARKETING 101 SAYS NEVER GIVE OUT A PRICE LIST.
I don't agree ....
Post by u***@gmail.com
PRICES SHOULD BE ADJUSTABLE. SAY LIKE GIVING A QUANTITY
DISCOUNT. MAYBE YOU WANT TO BEAT A QUOTE FROM A COMPETITOR.
IT IS CALLED BIDDING.
I sort of doubt that VSI has any competition.
I'd rather they come out with prices they can survive with, then say, "this is it".
Catering to a few large customers might seem like good revenue, but, what was
that "don't put all your eggs in one basket"? For VSI to grow, there must be
small customers, and such might easier use *ix. Might not want them to get upset.
Indeed, I guess the question is how small is worth it to them? For
example, I'd love to pay a small price to licence this stuff for myself.
I have hobbiest PAK's, but that won't do to my stuff for real. I provide
a couple small services to a couple friends and family small businesses, which
is not a hobby.

What is the "list" price for a single CPU Alpha node? Who knows,
but I'd guess 2-3 orders of magnitude more than I'd be willing to part
with. Note, RedHat offers a one node annual subscription for $349 in a
self-support model. If VSI could offer me something comparable for
Alpha (or x86 when it comes around) -- I'd be mighty interested.

I bet I'm not the only one either, expecially on a "no-support" model,
it's litterally just free money for them.

--
Jason
o***@gmail.com
2017-04-21 05:58:09 UTC
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Post by Jason Howe
Indeed, I guess the question is how small is worth it to them? For
example, I'd love to pay a small price to licence this stuff for myself.
I have hobbiest PAK's, but that won't do to my stuff for real. I provide
a couple small services to a couple friends and family small businesses, which
is not a hobby.
Ah, here's the big rub!
On the one hand VMS right now has so few users that even if x86-64 were completely ready-to-go that even giving it away for free might be a "tough sell" -- on the other hand *that* is exactly how unix/linux got entrenched -- on the other, other hand having a paid central point-of-contact for the product (like, say, Borland for the Turbo-series compilers) boosts confidence in having somebody to talk to if/when something breaks (as opposed to linux/open-source).

Balancing out all of these factors is difficult, and finding a good combination moreso. -- All things considered, it would probably be a prudent move to publish prices and set them at the low end while offering (again at a published price, perhaps subject to negotiation) support-contracts.
Post by Jason Howe
I bet I'm not the only one either, expecially on a "no-support" model,
it's litterally just free money for them.
Bingo!
Windows 10 Home is $110 -- So offer a basic, no-guaranteed-support product at $80..$100 and it's all free money.
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-21 14:35:45 UTC
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Post by o***@gmail.com
Ah, here's the big rub!
On the one hand VMS right now has so few users that even if x86-64 were
completely ready-to-go that even giving it away for free might be a
"tough sell"
Tough? It'll be "tough" once there's VSI marketing focusing on that,
and once there's more than a little VSI development work completed and
yet more new development work underway.

Right now, trying to port apps or environments off of Microsoft Windows
or Linux or BSD and over onto OpenVMS is somewhere between supremely
difficult and unaffordable, as the apps and tools and integration and
many of the dependencies simply do not exist on OpenVMS.

If you think porting apps off of OpenVMS is tough, porting most apps
from Microsoft Windows to OpenVMS would be just as difficult. If not
more so.

That's before discussing wholesale staff re-training, and — as happens
in platform ports — staff turnover.
Post by o***@gmail.com
Windows 10 Home is $110 -- So offer a basic, no-guaranteed-support
product at $80..$100 and it's all free money.
The software price of $110 which is usually embedded in the purchase
price for the hardware, one of the pillars central to the ascendence of
Microsoft Windows. Free development tools, too. No restrictions on
commercial development. Even with that entry-level pricing, Microsoft
has been running BizSpark to attract more folks to Windows and Azure.
Or the software purchase price is $0; free. One of the BSDs or Centos
— very close to RedHat — or any one of various purpose-built Linux
distros.

Unfortunately, bottom-end and entry-level configurations seemingly
haven't been considered part of the OpenVMS market since the days of
the MicroVAX II, but it's where many of the new app projects and new
deployments start.

For the next five or ten years, the installed base is the VSI business
and revenue stream. Attracting new users is the future of VSI and
OpenVMS, but that is a long bet for now.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
o***@gmail.com
2017-04-21 17:15:38 UTC
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Post by Stephen Hoffman
Post by o***@gmail.com
Ah, here's the big rub!
On the one hand VMS right now has so few users that even if x86-64 were
completely ready-to-go that even giving it away for free might be a
"tough sell"
Tough? It'll be "tough" once there's VSI marketing focusing on that,
and once there's more than a little VSI development work completed and
yet more new development work underway.
Right now, trying to port apps or environments off of Microsoft Windows
or Linux or BSD and over onto OpenVMS is somewhere between supremely
difficult and unaffordable, as the apps and tools and integration and
many of the dependencies simply do not exist on OpenVMS.
If you think porting apps off of OpenVMS is tough, porting most apps
from Microsoft Windows to OpenVMS would be just as difficult. If not
more so.
I said nothing at all about porting; I was talking about VSI obtaining market-share.

(Though having applications is certainly a contributing factor.)
Post by Stephen Hoffman
That's before discussing wholesale staff re-training, and — as happens
in platform ports — staff turnover.
Sure; that's all part of the *why* even giving it away could be a tough sell.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
Post by o***@gmail.com
Windows 10 Home is $110 -- So offer a basic, no-guaranteed-support
product at $80..$100 and it's all free money.
Unfortunately, bottom-end and entry-level configurations seemingly
haven't been considered part of the OpenVMS market since the days of
the MicroVAX II, but it's where many of the new app projects and new
deployments start.
Absolutely true.
That's *EXACTLY* why Borland's Turbo series compilers were such successful products: they were affordable to small business and hobbyists alike.
Post by Stephen Hoffman
For the next five or ten years, the installed base is the VSI business
and revenue stream. Attracting new users is the future of VSI and
OpenVMS, but that is a long bet for now.
I understand that, but it's often prudent to look to the future as well.
Stephen Hoffman
2017-04-21 19:02:41 UTC
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Post by o***@gmail.com
I said nothing at all about porting; I was talking about VSI obtaining market-share.
And how is that market share gained?

The end-users want and need usable and affordable apps.

I'm not aware of any particular clamoring market of folks seeking just
an operating system, after all.

Market share is gained by existing and new end-user developers and ISVs
porting apps over from other platforms, and by wholly new apps being
developed and written for the platform.

There are more existing apps around that might be ported over to
OpenVMS than there are wholly new projects that might choose to start
on OpenVMS, or so recent history would seem to indicate.

The actively-maintained part of the OpenVMS installed base is going to
port to x86-64 as the prerequisite products and tools become available
and as the platform is proved to be stable and hopefully all before the
existing hardware ages out, and absent any other blocking constraints.
--
Pure Personal Opinion | HoffmanLabs LLC
Paul Sture
2017-04-21 08:05:42 UTC
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Post by David Froble
Post by u***@gmail.com
MARKETING 101 SAYS NEVER GIVE OUT A PRICE LIST.
I don't agree ....
Post by u***@gmail.com
PRICES SHOULD BE ADJUSTABLE. SAY LIKE GIVING A QUANTITY
DISCOUNT. MAYBE YOU WANT TO BEAT A QUOTE FROM A COMPETITOR.
IT IS CALLED BIDDING.
I sort of doubt that VSI has any competition.
I'd rather they come out with prices they can survive with, then say, "this is it".
Catering to a few large customers might seem like good revenue, but,
what was that "don't put all your eggs in one basket"? For VSI to
grow, there must be small customers, and such might easier use *ix.
Might not want them to get upset.
A software house I used to deal with suffered from that. They really
didn't want to migrate one of their products to Alpha, but their biggest
customer bribed them to do so. That was unfortunate because that
product was subject to hefty royalties and they really should have been
spending their resources on developing new products which they owned
outright instead.
--
Everybody has a testing environment. Some people are lucky enough enough
to have a totally separate environment to run production in.
IanD
2017-04-21 16:24:26 UTC
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Lots of interesting views in this topic

In terms of marketing, if it's not VSI's strong-point (and lets face it, if they follow Digital on this they can pack up and go home now, we all know how that ended), then get some fresh minds in / pick the brains of the folks here

There's plenty of people here who have and who are working in very forward enterprises and/or know how to exploit niche areas and for the foreseeable future, VMS will most likely have to be positioned to exploit these niche markets. I highly doubt it's going to win business off other entrenched technologies for quite some time

In my opinion that VMS will be nickle and diming it's existence for a while yet and if that is the case, they should keep hungry for any revenue stream available, that could be the very small niche markets, like home licences (Hobbyist with updates (even delayed by say a month or two, excluding security), and no support). I'd happily pay say $150 a year for this type of license - easy money!

The old price models helped lead to the death of VMS, it would be insane to revive the same models thinking that somehow just because of an architecture change, that the old flawed price model will somehow magically come good again

Like the initial stages of a project, record all options and shortlist later, don't pre-curtail or attempt to ram current wants and needs into yesterday's models
David Turner
2017-04-21 17:43:01 UTC
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I have mentioned several times I would love LOVE to be a reseller for VSI
I would happily charge a small margin and resell their products
We can even sell them online

But heard nothing

Heed this VSI. I WANT TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS. I have a couple of people
here ready and willing to sell your licensing and services online.


Why not?!?!?!

Or we could set up a website FOR YOU and let the web do the work for a
small fee.....

David
Island Computers
Post by IanD
Lots of interesting views in this topic
In terms of marketing, if it's not VSI's strong-point (and lets face it, if they follow Digital on this they can pack up and go home now, we all know how that ended), then get some fresh minds in / pick the brains of the folks here
There's plenty of people here who have and who are working in very forward enterprises and/or know how to exploit niche areas and for the foreseeable future, VMS will most likely have to be positioned to exploit these niche markets. I highly doubt it's going to win business off other entrenched technologies for quite some time
In my opinion that VMS will be nickle and diming it's existence for a while yet and if that is the case, they should keep hungry for any revenue stream available, that could be the very small niche markets, like home licences (Hobbyist with updates (even delayed by say a month or two, excluding security), and no support). I'd happily pay say $150 a year for this type of license - easy money!
The old price models helped lead to the death of VMS, it would be insane to revive the same models thinking that somehow just because of an architecture change, that the old flawed price model will somehow magically come good again
Like the initial stages of a project, record all options and shortlist later, don't pre-curtail or attempt to ram current wants and needs into yesterday's models
David Turner
2017-04-22 14:22:07 UTC
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Marketing 101 (maybe circa 1975)

Let me tell you

There are still a lot of dealers out there in Alpha/Integrity land.
Many, though have failed and their employees are working on car lots and
selling used furniture (poke at CCH)as they failed to modernize and
cater to their more "switched-online" clients.

We are surviving and doing pretty well. Why? Because we put the pricing
(in most cases) on our website. These are prices that allow us to make a
fair (not massive) margin and provide the hardware support that is
offered...

So VSI keeping their pricing "secret" is only doing a disservice to
their customers and themselves. Time that could be used to do more
marketing in the real world, is taken by sales people spending hours
quoting the same products.
Even though VSI states they have +/- 25K options, I bet there are 20 or
30 that are the MOST quoted.
In that case, why not put them into a free Magento or Opencart store
(all it takes is Linux MySQL and PHP and Opencart CMS) and they can
alleviate their workload for a large majority of their current customer
base.
We do well because our prices are up in print. HP even uses our pricing
more than sometimes to price their own refurbished products for sale. We
do discounts in the form of repeat customer coupons and special items.
It is a no-brainer that perhaps is lost amongst the highly
engineering-minded IQ-Elite. But I have been selling Alpha/Vax/Integrity
stuff since 1989 and I know what works, not to mention many customers
having told me how frustrating it is to just get a bloody price on
something simply for budgetory purposes.... (they nearly always needed 3
printed price quotes)

My few cents worth

David T
Post by David Turner
I have mentioned several times I would love LOVE to be a reseller for VSI
I would happily charge a small margin and resell their products
We can even sell them online
But heard nothing
Heed this VSI. I WANT TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS. I have a couple of people
here ready and willing to sell your licensing and services online.
Why not?!?!?!
Or we could set up a website FOR YOU and let the web do the work for a
small fee.....
David
Island Computers
Post by IanD
Lots of interesting views in this topic
In terms of marketing, if it's not VSI's strong-point (and lets face
it, if they follow Digital on this they can pack up and go home now,
we all know how that ended), then get some fresh minds in / pick the
brains of the folks here
There's plenty of people here who have and who are working in very
forward enterprises and/or know how to exploit niche areas and for the
foreseeable future, VMS will most likely have to be positioned to
exploit these niche markets. I highly doubt it's going to win
business off other entrenched technologies for quite some time
In my opinion that VMS will be nickle and diming it's existence for a
while yet and if that is the case, they should keep hungry for any
revenue stream available, that could be the very small niche markets,
like home licences (Hobbyist with updates (even delayed by say a month
or two, excluding security), and no support). I'd happily pay say $150
a year for this type of license - easy money!
The old price models helped lead to the death of VMS, it would be
insane to revive the same models thinking that somehow just because of
an architecture change, that the old flawed price model will somehow
magically come good again
Like the initial stages of a project, record all options and shortlist
later, don't pre-curtail or attempt to ram current wants and needs
into yesterday's models
Kerry Main
2017-04-22 15:48:55 UTC
Reply
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Raw Message
-----Original Message-----
David Turner via Info-vax
Sent: April 22, 2017 10:22 AM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
Marketing 101 (maybe circa 1975)
Let me tell you
There are still a lot of dealers out there in Alpha/Integrity land.
Many, though have failed and their employees are working on car lots and
selling used furniture (poke at CCH)as they failed to modernize and
cater to their more "switched-online" clients.
We are surviving and doing pretty well. Why? Because we put the pricing
(in most cases) on our website. These are prices that allow us to make a
fair (not massive) margin and provide the hardware support that is
offered...
So VSI keeping their pricing "secret" is only doing a disservice to
their customers and themselves. Time that could be used to do more
marketing in the real world, is taken by sales people spending hours
quoting the same products.
Even though VSI states they have +/- 25K options, I bet there are 20 or
30 that are the MOST quoted.
In that case, why not put them into a free Magento or Opencart store
(all it takes is Linux MySQL and PHP and Opencart CMS) and they can
alleviate their workload for a large majority of their current
customer
base.
We do well because our prices are up in print. HP even uses our pricing
more than sometimes to price their own refurbished products for sale. We
do discounts in the form of repeat customer coupons and special items.
It is a no-brainer that perhaps is lost amongst the highly
engineering-minded IQ-Elite. But I have been selling
Alpha/Vax/Integrity
stuff since 1989 and I know what works, not to mention many customers
having told me how frustrating it is to just get a bloody price on
something simply for budgetory purposes.... (they nearly always needed 3
printed price quotes)
My few cents worth
David T
[Snip..]

All this back seat driving in this thread is great for unloading on what
we all know here was a disastrous pricing and marketing strategy with
DEC/Compaq/HP.

Background -

With each company takeover, existing products became much smaller fish
in a much larger pond. Add into this, all of the companies that HP
purchased in the last 10 years or so (number was 42 before I left in
2012 - each with large numbers of product p/n's) and you can see how
these traditional products like OpenVMS, HP-UX and NonStop) became much
smaller fish. Think of the additional complexities when, after massive
purges of Sales people, the remaining Sales teams have all these massive
products and p/n's (tens of thousands btw) to wade through in order to
determine what to sell to a Customer.

Imho, besides the obvious huge personal bonuses for the C+ mgmt. levels,
the p/n and solution complexity was a primary reason why the HP BOD and
senior decided to break up HP into much smaller parts i.e. separate HP
into HPE/HP Inc, cut loose the SW org, cut loose the Managed Services,
sell off traditional products etc.

Personal prediction - wait for a similar announcement for NonStop in the
next 12 months as what happened with OpenVMS. Note that, like the
OpenVMS transfer to VSI, this would likely be a great move for the
NonStop folks because they would no longer be very small fish in a big
pond.

In addition, the previous OpenVMS pricing/marketing strategies were
based on the competition being Solaris, AIX and yes, even HP-UX
strategies. Meanwhile the commodity OS's (Windows/Linux) ate all of
these traditional enterprise OS's lunch. For DEC/Compaq/HP, this was not
that big of an issue because they expected to also gain a certain amount
of server / storage HW revenue when these existing OpenVMS/HP-UX Cust's
migrated. While not good for BCS (org with enterprise OS's), it was good
for ISSG (org with ProLiant HW), so no one really cared at the top of
HP. Remember that the culture of Compaq/HP was very much a HW company.

Past Migrations -

Very few Customers ever migrated from any of these enterprise OS's
because the target OS (Windows/Linux) was technically "better". Likely
95% of these Customers who migrated were focussed on reducing their IT
licensing/support costs and the target commodity OS was viewed as "good
enough". That is also true today - ask any Solaris/AIX/HP-UX Customer
looking at Linux if the reason they are migrating is because they think
Linux is technically better than Solaris/AIX/HP-UX. The main drivers are
almost always reductions of licenses, support costs.

So what is running the enterprises of today? "Good enough" platforms
that are (or rather, perceived to be) much less cost than the
traditional enterprise OS's.

Online Pricing -

Re: VSI web site pricing - Pure 100% speculation on my part, but what if
the current pricing strategy was under review to determine what pricing
model is best for the future of VSI?

For those familiar with how complex licensing/support cost models this
really are (p/n's, license keys, existing documentation, existing
contracts including multi-year etc.), this is not a small feat - it is a
huge, huge undertaking.

IF this were true, would launching a new web site with current pricing
be a smart move, when as Clair stated, they have a hard enough time
keeping up with current requests coming in?

Selling via additional resellers is certainly something to consider for
the future. However, in their current state of transition, would it not
be better to talk more directly to Customers, better understand the Cust
pain points and then explain what the current model is and where VSI is
heading? Yes, this assumes they can keep up with the incoming quote
requests (a good challenge to have btw).

Regards,

Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com
Simon Clubley
2017-04-24 00:35:41 UTC
Reply
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Raw Message
Post by Kerry Main
All this back seat driving in this thread is great for unloading on what
we all know here was a disastrous pricing and marketing strategy with
DEC/Compaq/HP.
Sometimes the back seat drivers understand the world around them
better than the front seat drivers appear to do.
Post by Kerry Main
Yes, this assumes they can keep up with the incoming quote
requests (a good challenge to have btw).
No, the real challenge is successfully converting a good percentage
of the quotes into actual sales.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Kerry Main
2017-04-24 01:42:35 UTC
Reply
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Raw Message
-----Original Message-----
Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Sent: April 23, 2017 8:36 PM
Subject: Re: [Info-vax] VSI: following up sales leads to conclusion is
absolutely critical
Post by Kerry Main
All this back seat driving in this thread is great for unloading on what
we all know here was a disastrous pricing and marketing strategy with
DEC/Compaq/HP.
Sometimes the back seat drivers understand the world around them
better than the front seat drivers appear to do.
And sometimes the back seat drivers only think they know better because
they do not see all of what the front seat driver sees.

[snip]

Feedback is always appreciated from well meaning supporters, but I have
not seen anything in this thread that has not been discussed extensively
both internally and externally since the DEC days. This includes from
the OpenVMS Ambassadors who did (do) directly support large Customers
like Intel, IKEA, Stock Exchanges, Power Utilities, Banks, Treasury
Dept. etc.

Improved marketing, improved sales support, improved features (new file
system, new security features, new Java versions and X86-64 port were on
the wish list since DEC days), improved web site, improved cost models,
improved open source support, more tech updates.

Keeping in mind they are a new software start-up, VSI needs to balance
all of these with keeping the lights on.

Regards,

Kerry Main
Kerry dot main at starkgaming dot com

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