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What Does It Cost?

Does it seem to you that some storage vendors, software vendors in particular, just don't want you to figure out how much what you're buying is going to cost? When I am on a briefing I always try to get a feel for how much something is going to cost, because, well, you as users are going to want to know. It doesn't matter how cool a technology is -- if it costs a million dollars to solve a $1,000 problem you are not going to buy it. So why do suppliers make it so hard to figure out how much something costs?

My favorite response that has been appearing more often lately is "we don't publish our price list," which of course leads me to ask if they have a price list. The answer is often, "Yes, we do, but we just don't publish it." Well, if you are not going to publish your price list why bother even having one?

Then a supplier actually told me to email them a sample configuration and they would price it for me. What? This has to drive a customer insane, doesn't it? I mean, you own the budget and I assume that you like the software, so you are trying to figure out how many modules or what types of protection you can afford to buy. I doubt many customers want to play this cat-and-mouse game of how much is this and how much is that. Do you? Who has the time for that?

I'm sure I am just being a cynic here, but doesn't this practice of either not publishing your published prices or making the pricing model so complex you need a physics degree to figure it out seem like someone is trying to hide something? It's as if they are trying to figure out just how much they can get away with charging you. So, to make sure you get the best price you have to act like a jerk and play hardball. I'm sure that establishes a great foundation for a long-term relationship.

The typical response when pressed is that the supplier does not want their competition to know what their pricing is. Why? Is it because their pricing is so out of line that if someone else finds out they will lose the project? Who cares if the other guy knows what you are selling your software for? If your software is better and you can support it well, then charge more. If your solution is about average, charge about average.

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