We had been considered sending in an RFP response to a customer for a system. Long past history with this customer suggests that they are basically interested in validation and consulting from us, never really interested in purchasing from us.
This is unfortunate, as we are Michigan’s only local HPC company, and they are a university in the state of Michigan purchasing HPC gear. It makes it look good for them with their higher ups to include us, even if they never award us any business.
Last go around, we were told our offer was somehow “unfair” to our competitors, and that they wanted us to help our competitors better compete with us. Thats just ridiculous. Instead of buying the best solution, they wanted us to show others how to build it. Oh, and do this for free.
Looking through their site, I can see lots of our terminology, lots of our ideas that we brought up during these processes … they were implemented.
Nice of them to do this. Have an RFP, get free consulting.
So we opted out. We asked for assurances that our RFP response would get full and fair consideration. We were not given this. Actually we were effectively told to STFU, in not so many words, but that was the net response from purchasing.
So I agonized over this. Should we submit? Would our submission be considered? What struck me, looking over their site yesterday before I made my decision, was that we have had an impact upon the way they do their computing. Our ideas are prominent in their design. But we had never been paid for this. Either in terms of hardware, or consulting.
So the decision was obvious. They would continue this approach for the foreseeable future, inviting us when they want more free consulting, not when they want us to provide something they may have to purchase, if we were the low bidder.
Which is what prompted the call they made to me last time, asking me to help our competitors better compete with us in order to be “fair” to our competitors.
No, I won’t name names. We don’t do any business with them now. I mean, literally zero business. I don’t see this ever changing.
If they want our advice, they are welcome to pay for it. Yes I know a number of their staff read this blog, and this information will likely be disseminated. Such is life.
I don’t expect this situation to change. It saddens me. But its a business decision. I have to cut off efforts into guaranteed failures, as they drain time/resources from possible/probable successes. Once they show that they are no longer a guaranteed failure for us, and convince us that they will actually consider our responses on the merits of the response alone … maybe we can do business. We don’t need the faux-drama of an RFP response, an interview to plum our ideas, and then use them with a competitors gear.
Until then, I don’t expect to do business with them.
And yes, they are one of my alma mater.
We are going to announce a sales shortly for state of Michigan entities (companies, universities, schools, etc) They are welcome to participate.
I am saddened by this, but business isn’t about emotion. Its about probabilities. You expend effort on non-zero probabilities, and cut off zero probabilities. Which is what I did.