The incident taught Martin to get a clear understanding upfront of what the vendor is providing itself and what its partners are bringing to the table. "The lesson we learned is to really understand and explore the relationship between who you're buying from and who provides what that vendor is selling," he says.
Sometimes the buyer is to blame
To be fair, it's not always exaggeration or half-truths on the part of the vendor that leads to buyer disappointment; sometimes it's due to a lack of education, research or comparative shopping on the customer's end.
A.G. von Luternow, a Georgia-based tech consultant, says he's seen clients in a hurry to make a purchase wind up with a bad case of buyer's remorse.
One retailing client wanted to purchase cataloging software but evaluated only one tool. The company decided to go with it without first checking with von Luternow.
The retailer ended up having to make some significant hardware investments to be able to run the software. It also wanted to integrate the new software with desktop applications, which the product didn't support.
"They chose the wrong tool because they only looked at one, and now it really doesn't work the way they wanted it to," says von Luternow. "The vendor didn't misrepresent the product -- it does everything they said it would. The issue is that the people who were choosing the tool lost track of what problem they were trying to solve. And now they are stuck with it."
Garretson is a frequent Computerworld contributor from the Washington, D.C., area. She can be reached at email@example.com.