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News: BEA Trying to Beef Up Services

  1. BEA Trying to Beef Up Services (27 messages)

    BEA has announced some new services, in an attempt to increase it professional services revenue. For $21,000, you will be able to get a "business-integration assessment service".

    What is this service? Tom Ashburn, BEA's president of services stated:

    "The business-integration assessment services, which cost $21,000, provide customers with a road map, best practices and solution acceleration guides to design an architecture best suited to their companies' plan for business integration"

    The education dept will be offering new web based classes, and there are some new support services such as "live chat" via the web-based support.

    BEA Adds Three New Services To Support WebLogic

    BEA rolls out integration consulting service

    Will this help BEA become the next IBM Global Services? :)

    Threaded Messages (27)

  2. BEA Trying to Beef Up Services[ Go to top ]

    Read somewhere that this "assesment" was onsite for 3-5 days. $21 000 is a pretty hefty sum for 3-5 days worth of consultancy time, at least in most of europe. Take into account that the consultants main motivation is a) actually help the customer, b) push for more BEA products, and its no bargain by any means..

    Isnt this a service most run-of-the-mill consultancies already can and do offer on request? And probably at a lower price with a deeper understanding of the customers organization from a likely on-going business relationship..
  3. BEA Trying to Beef Up Services[ Go to top ]

    Alright, Wille, you drive a hard bargain. After four days of intensive study, we concluded that you need an eight-CPU deployment of the Weblogic platform for the low, low price of $720,000. (That's plus $144,000 per year support, of course).

    But because you're you, we'll take the $21,000 you spent on our report and apply it toward the purchase price of the 8 cpu licenses. So the study was basically free!

    Not good enough? You're breaking my balls, here, Wille. I talked with my manager, and I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm throwing in FIVE free development licenses for your platform. That's a $450,000 value! (You'll still be paying $90,000 per year support, of course) You don't want to go back to senior management and tell them that you turned down $450,000 in free software, do you? Do you? I didn't think so, Wille. Great, now if you can just sign right here. And here. And here.
  4. 3-Star Partner[ Go to top ]

    BEA is selling expensive services....hmmmmm....no surprise there. I worked for a consulting company awhile back that was a "3 Star BEA blah blah"....but in order to be that, we had to sell something like a million dollars worth of BEA licenses each year.

    Imagine if that poor consulting company was working hard to sell expensive BEA stuff and then trying to add on their expensive hourly rate on top of that. And now BEA is going right to the customer anyways....so the laugh is on all those firms that pushed BEA go earn the precious 3-Star rating.

    My how times change.....
  5. Who controls the budget?[ Go to top ]

    Hearing software developers gripe about spending money on IT systems and services is no suprise to me. I'm wondering of the three people that posted replies which one of them has $21,000 in spending authority? I'm in a unique position now that I own my own business, but I remember when I was a developer working for a software publishing company how frustrated I would feel being on the outside of the decision making for software and service purchases. Some of things they would buy made me wonder what they were thinking?!#@

    Now that I'm in the decision maker's seat I see things a little differently. For example, suppose I ran a small IT department with 3-4 engineers. At 3 x $80,000/year, I'm already spending $240,000 year on salaries, plus 20-30% on benefits, and then overhead, capital expenses like workstations, well you get the idea. If my budget is $500,000 per year, then $21,000 just doesn't sound like a lot. Especially if their consulting can do something my folks can't.

    -Frank Cohen
    http://www.pushtotest.com/ptt
  6. Who controls the budget?[ Go to top ]

    Frank makes a great point. Just because something costs a lot does not imply it's must be a waste of money.

    If we take the premise that people have set out that the result of the assessment is a report that it's going to recommend a 8 CPU / multiple 100k deployment ... perhaps in the long run that will save me money.

    What if I used my own assessment and started with a low-ball estimate of 4 CPU system. Let's say that it really was not sufficient so I had some quality of service issues. SO people get peeved at my "level of service" they stop using my company. So ... I got out of business. Did I spend my money wisely? I think not!
  7. Who controls the budget?[ Go to top ]

    "If my budget is $500,000 per year, then $21,000 just doesn't sound like a lot."

    Point taken, but say you have an ongoing relationship with a consultancy down the street that has helped you earlier with developing and integrating your systems.Those people have probably spent months trying to understand your business, and hopefully do understand it somewhat. You would get considerably more value out of those for the same money, even at the same rate!

    3-5 days goes nowhere to understand a business, that would be something like:
    "So you do XYZ?"
    "Not really."
    "Oops, times up! That would be $21 000.."

    If they dont have the time to understand your business or its needs, how are they ever going to understand your technology needs?
  8. Who controls the budget?[ Go to top ]

    It seems to me that whenever there is a talk about paying for software or services, a lot of people on this site come up get really really upset and begin inventing FUD. Don't assume that just because it costs more , you are being ripped off : good quality of service always costs more.


    Nobody puts a gun to anyone's head to go with BEA or IBM or EDS etc. Customers are willing to pay a premium to go with these because they have a track record of successful projects and they bring a breadth of experience to the table that you or your "consultancy-down-the-street" don't. And by sheer prestige, the BEA/IBM/EDS/ etc. are able to hire better skilled individuals and they also invest more in the skills of their consultants than your "consultancy-down-the-street".

    During the Dot-Com days, companies like Razorfish etc. gave IT consulting a bad name. But those days are gone, those consultants are gone and what you have is a more sober( somber ??) market and much more reasonably priced services.

    If you don't like the numbers quoted to you , walk away. Market will force these companies to price their products and services appropriately.
  9. Who controls the budget?[ Go to top ]

    I am not opposing the "paying a premium", quality does cost. My point is: that if you have an on-going relationship with say Accenture, CGEY etc, then these should be able to provide any services that BEA provides regarding what a customer should and shouldnt do, but in a much better way already knowing the customer.
    If anything, BEA should focus on helping the consultants instead of biting into their pie.
    My "consultancy-down-the-street" might have been a little of target, I am in no way saying "go down to the corner-hack shop with the pimple faced teenagers that do cool spinning fire-wheels"... :)
  10. Wille, I concur that if you have an on-going relationship with say Accenture, CGEY etc, then these should be able to provide any services that BEA. No doubt.

    But the bigger question is what should consitute a "payable" assessment service ? Clearly , an onsite pre-sales activity is not worth paying for. However, all assessment reports invariably end with a sales pitch/proposal for new services/products or upgrades.(they wouldn't call a consulting organization unless they felt the need for a change or upgrade). But that in itself does not mean that the effort that produced this report was crass sales tactics. An evaluation of the current systems and devising upgrade path is not a trivial effort and should be paid for by the client.


    I have no idea what BEA is offering in its services but from my personal experience with clients, I would say that assessment services shoulld not be free.
  11. "I would say that assessment services shoulld not be free."
    I completely agree with you.

    "I concur that if you have an on-going relationship with say Accenture, CGEY etc, then these should be able to provide any services that BEA. No doubt."
    Maybe I was somewhat unclear earlier, but in my world you dont have "on-going relationships" with a half-baked consultancy/supplier that doesnt have the competency or experience to help you out with the majority of issues in a certain field that they claim to be experts in. What use would the relationship be? Of course, this isnt the situation in the real world, but I would prefer to not have it any other way.

    I think we actually do agree on most points, its seems we (I?) are mostly talking past eachother on a semantic level. Might be my scandinavian accent :)
  12. Who controls the budget?[ Go to top ]

    From the InfoWorld article:

    "BEA isn't trying build up a services business in its own right; the role of the services organization is to help the company sell more software, according to Ashburn" (Tom Ashburn, BEA's president of worldwide services).

    Does this mean that clients pay $21K to be sold software? If so, does this imply that if they don't stump up the $21K, then they will be denied the opportunity to purchase?

    I would like to suggest a new business model for the industry: perhaps we could have floating and node-locked licenses to buy.
  13. Reply to Frank[ Go to top ]

    <Frank>
    I'm wondering of the three people that posted replies which one of them has $21,000 in spending authority?
    </Frank>

    I have PLENTY of spending authority, however, I can't justify spending 21k on 3 to 5 days of something that most likely won't amount to anything.

    When I worked for a company called TechHealth, they spent that kind of money on a big consulting company from NY to come to FL and tell us "you need to have dev/test/prod environments". Really...wow..thanks for the insight, that will be 21k please.

    The software market is GREATLY competitive right now (think offshore outsourcing), so if I plan to spend 21k, it will be on an employee who will retain the knowledge of our particular business. The ONLY way for the companies I work for (and they are multi-million dollar, profitable companies) to compete is to wisely spend money on solid employees - not on expensive consulting services.

    Regards,
    Tom Pridham
    IS Director : Matrix Healthcare Services : www.MatrixHCS.com
    CIO/Board Member : 365 Marketing Technologies : www.365MT.com
    CEO : Suncoast Software Solutions
  14. Good points[ Go to top ]

    Good points Tom. I appreciate the position you are in.

    Do you outsource services? If so, what kind and how has it worked out for you?

    -Frank
  15. It's not that willy nilly[ Go to top ]

    The engagements that BEA and other services firms sell aren't necessarily as ambiguous as suggested here on this forum. There are consulting engagements that can be delivered on a daily or hourly basis, but the scope of work is generally very broad (assist with engineering, code this module, etc.).

    However, the offerings that BEA is proposing here are those that are associated with a fixed set of deliverables. The deliverables are well-defined (although poorly defined in the news articles) and understood before the engagement occurs. The client then haves the opportunity to evaluate whether the deliverables provided are justified for the price being asked. These deliverables aren't ambiguous either. They have to be concrete because BEA is required to demonstrate Proof Of Delivery (POD) on all engagements for their financial auditor. Each service or LOB will have a definitive set of POD rules that they must abide by, so offering services that are ambiguous would never be approved by their accountant.

    And, in the case of what they are offering, their services will likely have a very strong value proposition for a specific niche (customers evaluating BEA WebLogic Portal and BEA WebLogic Integration). But, if we were to look at the deliverables provided, they are in the planning / design area. So, each company will need to evaluate whether $21K investment will be worth the ROI. With experience in different IT departments, it may often be the case that the company is about to make a big investment in Portal, Integration or J2EE for 1-3 impending projects. If the opportunity cost is $21K to get a week of planning and a commitment from BEA that their plans will yield success as opposed to 1-2 months from a virgin team new to BEA to yield the same results, then it's likely that the company may very well pitch the services.

    What's more interesting to me in the article was BEA's new 8.1 curriculum offerings and price points for Web-based delivery. Their 8.1 curriculum has a number of very intriguing elements to it: solutions-based labs, lab system integrated with IDE, more lab time in each class, modeling a sophisticated enterprise in the classroom. Sounds neat.

    Tyler
    Former BEA Director
  16. Former?!#@[ Go to top ]

    "Former Director"

    Who's going to play Tom Cruise at the next eWorld?!

    I hate the idea that you've left BEA.

    -Frank
  17. Hmmmmmmm[ Go to top ]

    What is the cost to stay on longer? Another $7000/day? Depending on the size of the system and the complexity, It may take a couple of months to come up with a good deployment strategy / architecture. How many consultants can actually provide truly useful information / analysis in 3 days?
  18. Hmmmmmmm[ Go to top ]

    "It may take a couple of months to come up with a good deployment strategy / architecture. How many consultants can actually provide truly useful information / analysis in 3 days?"
    I might be a complete moron, but if it were a larger and complex project, I wouldnt be able to do much more than perhaps beginning to grasp what the customer wants to achieve on a general level, but in no greater detail..
  19. kewords - business and integration[ Go to top ]

    I personally have seen millions go down the drain while someone tried to figure out how to set up 4 unix machines. BEA has been there done that for most any type of deployment, integration, or implementation from scratch. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

    1. are you doing business and wish to integrate services that will improve your sales and service
    2. can you calculate that there is a profit to be made (ROI) for spending $21,000 on a professional services integration solution

    If can answer yes to these questions then you qualify. On the other hand, if you have a crew that takes months to determine a good deployment strategy then have you saved $21,000 or lost a fortune?

    Now if you have people that can do it in house then great - you are the competition :) Some people build fast cars, some people just buy them - should BEA not offer the service just because some want to build?
  20. kewords - business and integration[ Go to top ]

    Well, if you can find me people that can perfectly understand the customers business, demands and needs, and then come up with the perfect masterplan on how to solve it, all in 3-5 days, have them give me a call! I think I could get them jobs at at least $21 000 a month.. :)

    My point all along has been, that to accomplish any results at all in 3-5 days, coming from knowing pretty much nothing about the customer, you will have to come to a set table and have all relevant information about the case ready and perfectly structured for your needs. How often can you say that about a project thats in an analysis stage?

    I am sure BEA has some of the best and most experienced people aboard, but its just not enough time to get much of anything done if you come into a completely new situation (even with a lot of prior experience of equivalent situations).
  21. Who controls the budget?[ Go to top ]

    I'm wondering of the three people that posted replies which one of them has $21,000 in spending authority?

    I have run several projects with seven-figure technology budgets in the past. (I have also sent a lot of that money to BEA!) Currently I am an independent contractor, and my spending authority is established by my wife. :)

    Anyway, this 'assessment service' is a very old game, and I've seen it from both sides. Management tells busdev that they need to generate more predictable revenue, so they think of ways to start charging for their sales calls.

    They have a 50-page document sitting on a server that explains why an organization needs the integration software. They come to your place, ask a lot of questions, talk up BEA software, then go home and customize 5 pages of the document to fit your business.

    Then they deliver the document (err... defined deliverable) to you for $21,000. The document's a real page-turner, and I hate to give away the ending, but the conclusion is... buy lots of BEA software and services!

    I don't begrudge BEA for selling software and services. I like seeing technology companies being successful in the marketplace. But I'm not sure why anyone would begrudge me for expressing the opinion that you're not getting good value on the dollar here.
  22. Software delusions...[ Go to top ]

    i disagree with you Frank. i've been there before, as one of these high dollar consultants and these consulting service fees are a total waste of time. more often than not, the developers looking for advice from the product experts have more knowledge about their products than the consultants themselves.

    often, these consultants have you chasing your tails with innocuous suggestions to get you off of their backs and to assuage their idiotic managers who put these consultants into incredible binds. this happens because most customers want to take these products and work outside of the constraints that these frameworks confine you with.

    on top of that, the support that these consultants get from their home bases is fairly weak too. the real developers, who have built the product, are typically tied down with future releases, which leaves the help desk drones who are generally nice people, but don't really understand complex problems...
  23. I guess not always[ Go to top ]

    <snip>
    more often than not, the developers looking for advice from the product xperts have more knowledge about their products than the consultants themselves.
    </snip>

    This is in fact sometimes quite true. On the other hand I still see a lot of projects that make bad use of technologies like J2EE or even more of more specialised products like, say a portal framework. Sometimes you arrive at these projects and can't help thinking: My-Oh-My, they should have got a decent contractor in a lot earlier, now it may well be to late. To be fair, I also see a lot of projects that are excellently engineered and planned where the above may hold true.
     
    > this happens because most customers want to take these products and work
    > outside of the constraints that these frameworks confine you with.

    But should they? An interesting question indeed. If you want to break the framework, why buy it in the first place? Sometimes things like these are business decisions, and sometimes shortcuts, twists and tweaks are just needed to make things work practically. But overall just to mess with a programming framework because you desparately want to try out a new paradigm or absolutely want to use some other vendors tools is nuts in the first place (One of my favourites is the necessity to use four different versions and types of XML parsers, because all the third party tools needed them)
     
    > which leaves the help desk drones who are generally nice people, but don't
    > really understand complex problems...

    I quite like help desk people. Having been one myself (for PV-WAVE and IMSL) I might say that good (seconf level) helpdesk people go to great length to understand and recreate problems. Unfortunately, some problems can only be solved by looking at the sourcecode and some can not being reproduced, because the infratstructure is not available at the help desk.
  24. i guess not always..redux[ Go to top ]

    But should they? An interesting question indeed. If you want to break the >framework, why buy it in the first place? Sometimes things like these are >business decisions, and sometimes shortcuts, twists and tweaks are just >needed to make things work practically. But overall just to mess with a >programming framework because you desparately want to try out a new paradigm >or absolutely want to use some other vendors tools is nuts in the first place >(One of my favourites is the necessity to use four different versions and >types of XML parsers, because all the third party tools needed them)


    why buy it in the first place? because the moron managers were snookered by the marketing types hyping their product!, dumping crappy frameworks on developers who could roll-their-own, and actually get what the dopey managers want, for less $$$.
  25. i guess not always..redux[ Go to top ]

    <snip>
    why buy it in the first place? because the moron managers were snookered by the marketing types hyping their product!, dumping crappy frameworks on developers who could roll-their-own, and actually get what the dopey managers want, for less $$$.
    </snip>

    This, quite frankly, is not nearly true. No development team in a project could role a framework like most of the ones bought - let alone for less $$$. Unfortunately, most projects get products pushed on them that are fit for some purposes but not for the project in question. In that case: Ignore the product where it does not fit but don't try mess with it, since in my experience this than causes real problems.

    Also, one of the reasons, managers like to use "products" is bad experience with home grown totally unmaintainble solutions and ultimately failed solutions. This is of course no excuse for blindfolded "standardization" on an unfiuished product that is likely to be out of business before the project is even finished......
  26. BEA Trying to Beef Up Services[ Go to top ]

    Hi Corby,

    If you're going to bust their balls, at least have the moral decency to use actual prices, not some made-up garbage. (I'm not saying your opinion is wrong or right, but making up numbers to make them look bad is really lousy.)

    By the way, these numbers didn't seem that far out of line compared to IBM's numbers. (Again, I'm not defending the numbers, just pointing out that they are relative to BEA's competitors.)

    Also, JBoss Group LLC hasn't been shy about charging quite a bit for services. Note that with JBoss, getting a feature added to the product (or just getting some existing features working as desired) can be considered "services", so you may end up paying for a free product just to get it to do what you want. (Again, I'm not attacking JBoss, just pointing out that other companies charge for their time, and none of these examples is cheap.)

    FWIW, I wouldn't consider paying IBM or BEA (etc.) this kind of money for these services unless I had some sort of guarantee and there were real, relevant engineers on site from the company and I had a huge discount and I had already selected their software stack as a strategic IT investment. I don't think I'm that unusual in this regard.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Easily share live data across a cluster!
  27. BEA Trying to Beef Up Services[ Go to top ]

    If you're going to bust their balls, at least have the moral decency to use actual prices, not some made-up garbage. (I'm not saying your opinion is wrong or right, but making up numbers to make them look bad is really lousy.)

    I took the list price and threw in discounts and incentives. I was being silly, but the end result reflects the process I have gone through with several vendors. Yes, including BEA. Can you explain what was made up or morally indecent?

    Also, JBoss Group LLC hasn't been shy about charging quite a bit for services.

    I'm not really sure what JBoss has to do with it, but I am enthusiastically supportive of companies like BEA and JBossGroup charging for J2EE consulting services.

    I'm not a real big fan of charging for sales calls, and calling it a 'service', but more than anything I find it funny.

    FWIW, I wouldn't consider paying IBM or BEA (etc.) this kind of money for these services unless I had some sort of guarantee and there were real, relevant engineers on site from the company and I had a huge discount and I had already selected their software stack as a strategic IT investment. I don't think I'm that unusual in this regard.

    Come to think of it, once you had that much leverage with the company, you would probably have them put that sort of sales proposal together for you at their own expense. I would, too.
  28. BEA Trying to Beef Up Services[ Go to top ]

    By the way, these numbers didn't seem that far out of line compared to IBM's numbers.

    Re-reading this, I think you believe that I am on a massive anti-BEA rant. I'm not. I like to see J2EE companies succeed in the marketplace, and I have liked the BEA technology since I was buying Tengah drivers from Weblogic. I think this service offering is silly, and I made fun of it. (Yes, I also think BEA licensing is a bit overpriced now)