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Damage Control

By maecuff ·
Well, today is pretty much toast. Regardless of the outcome of my current set of woes, I'm going home with at least half my *** chewed off. Moving forward, however, I need some advice on the best way to handle this situation.

We just purchased an Iseries upgrade. This is something that we HAD to do or we would lose our upgrade path and be forced to buy a new system within 12 months anyway at a significant price increase. The issue is this, when our IBM business partner met with us, multiple times, he drove home the point, that one way to sell this upgrade to our parent company, is that if we waited and bought a new box, we would change serial numbers and incur increases from our software vendors. So, when my boss sold the idea of the upgrade, one of the selling points, was that we would avoid additional charges from our vendors.

What has happened, is we have a few vendors that base their tier pricing on something other than processor group (our processor group is actually going DOWN with this upgrade) and I am getting hit with some fairly large upgrade fees. My boss is LIVID. Should I have found this out in advance, yes. I take full responsibility for that. Would we have still upgraded our system? Yes.

My question is this, what can I say to these vendors to convince them to either waive or at least discount these increases? Begging and pleading? Threats to take our business elsewhere? I am of the opinion that it would be best to just ASK, but I haven't dealt with this issue before and am not sure which tactic to take.

Today, it won't matter if I get them to waive the fee and send us a check, the state of my *** isn't going to change. My boss has gone beyond the reasonable stage. My current course of action is, I'm avoiding him as much as possible. (He's in another building, so it isn't hard). However, I've had to set meetings with these vendors for late this afternoon and we will both be in on the calls, so I'm going to face the music at some point today. My second question, how do you difuse such a volitile situation? I'm considering valium in his coffee, but I don't have any valium and I'm not sure if he even drinks coffee.

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Oracle and the ever changing model

by JamesRL In reply to Damage Control

Back when I worked in a couple of organizations that used Oracle, that org was famous or infamous for adjusting their pricing model in the most inconvinient way. Per processor and or per user, per named user, per concurrent user - it changed constantly it seemed. But in those situations, we had an Oracle rep, and we sat them down and hammered them on these issues. Often we got a compromise solution, and on rare occasions they waived the increses to keep us as a customer.

This is easier to do if you are large and have been with the vendor for a long time.

James

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Actually

by maecuff In reply to Oracle and the ever chang ...

I have dealt with Oracle and their ever increasing maintenance cost. We solved the problem by going to a 3rd party vendor for our JDE maintenance at a significant decrease in cost. We aren't interested in Oracles upgrades to JDE world software, so we didn't mind losing that option. So far, it's worked out great for us and is saving us 60K a year in maintenance cost.

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Two things to deal with. . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Damage Control

.
.....your boss and the vendors.

The vendors might be easy. The worst thing that could happen already has happened, so it can only get better from here. And I think you're right, it would be best to just ask. Tell them about your oversight, and ask them to suggest a win-win solution. If they refuse, suggest to them that you will probably be in the market for new vendors in the future, ones who see the advantages of a two-way street relationship. But be prepared to offer them something - anything - in return. A little mutual back-scratching is always a good way to approach such things.

As far as you boss in concerned, honesty might be the best policy. And I'd approach him before he approaches you. Just admit that you screwed up. You should have ..... you could have ..... next time you'll know. However, if I read your message correctly, the outcome would have been the same, it's just that you didn't anticipate it. So it's not like you cost the company a lot of money that they could have otherwise saved, but rather you just overlooked telling them about it. But when a person screws up, the best thing is to take the mea culpa, without offering excuses and without deferring blame, and just let the chips fall where they may.

And one other thought. As dark as the clouds may seem, there is a silver-lining. I know, I know, that might sound like a tired old saying, but it's true. Something good will come out of this, there's no doubt about it. And the key is to try to see it and follow it. The rest of the stuff will then just fall into place.

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Thanks

by maecuff In reply to Two things to deal with. ...

And that is just what I did. I could offer a NUMBER of valid reasons for the oversight, but I can't stand it when people make excuses, just take responsibility and move on. Fortunately, what historically happens in this situation is not the case. My boss, while still extremely angry, is more angry with our IBM business partner and the software vendors. He recalls us asking the question of our business partner regarding canvassing our vendors and our business partner saying that isn't necessary as our processer group will go down and we won't incur any additional cost. I personally do not remember the conversation going like that, but I'm not going to argue with my boss's memory. I may be naive at times, but I'm not stupid. :) I apologized for not being more thorough in our upfront analysis. He contends that we were only following our business partner's advice. Whew.

It's only happened a few times since in the 3 years that I've been in this position, but I'm telling you, his wrath is spectacular. I'm just relieved that it passed by me. We still have the phone calls this afternoon, and I'm sure it will not be pleasant. I am of the opinion that we just talk to them, but that ain't gonna happen. He's ready to fight.

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Don't let this lesson pass by you or your company

by mew1 In reply to Thanks

Tell your boss that one of the actions that must be addressed as a result of this lesson is that lessons learned must be documented so that the next time this situation arises in your company(it will), the people involved in the upgrade will have a better chance of heading off the surprises. It sounds like your boss is more frustrated with the situation than with you. Ride with it, let him (her?) know you are just as frustrated, and disappointed in yourself that you didn't take care of him (her?) as well as you could. Finally, remember, this too shall pass.

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Never confuse

by jdclyde In reply to Thanks

A valid reason for something with making excuses.

State clearly what happened and why. This is NOT making excuses.

Stand up for yourself, but don't get defensive.

I did this,
I did that,
worked with vendors and did this
I missed this.

Did this to resolve the issue.

A person that stands up and can resolve issues is of more value to a lot of people than the ones that never get caught making a mistake. It shows you can be trusted to HANDLE situations.

The best of luck.

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I agree with Max

by stress junkie In reply to Two things to deal with. ...

I'll tell you from experience that it is hard to think of everything in advance of a big change. Even if in hindsight a problem seems like it should have been predictable let's face it we're all just human. In the middle of planning a big change you can lose sight of issues because there are so many.

I agree with Max to just take responsibility and move on. The one exception is if your boss starts making excuses by blaming the vendor. Then you quietly agree and give a slightly vindicated but still remorseful look.

Then just keep your head down and quietly do your job. The whole thing will **** over in a couple of weeks. The only thing left that can go wrong is if the issue resurfaces in your next performance review. If it does then just do the same thing.

As far as the vendors are concerned, if you are going through third party VAR vendors then you can suggest taking your business elsewhere. Otherwise I don't see any happy resolution.

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Thanks

by maecuff In reply to I agree with Max

And yes, it IS difficult to forsee every scenario. And, this is the first time I've overseen a big upgrade, it's not an excuse, it is, however, my reality. Not to mention we were in the middle of an absolutely wretched SARBOX audit, in which we failed in a huge way. Our parent company didn't want to pony up the money for the software I needed for compliance. Now that it's all over, they've changed their view and I'm getting what I need. We have some fairly large implementations underway and I'm understaffed. I'm pretty sure I'm one of few IT directors that actually still write code. Not a lot, but I try to pick up the little things that come in to keep my development staff focused on the larger projects. In short, we're freaking busy.

I'm sure we will let our vendors know that we're considering other options. It's not very realistic as we would be talking about a major change and I don't have the staff to handle that right now, however, I could see it becoming a reality in the late Spring or early Summer. Not to mention, buying new software would be a LOT more expensive than just paying their increase now. We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. I'm just happy that the sinking feeling I've had since yesterday afternoon is slowing easing up. Although I am keeping my guard up just a bit as this situation is still pretty hot and could still **** up in my face. Personally, I've never heard my boss use the word m*ther f*cker so many times in one sentence. It was impressive.

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To the point

by StillWaters In reply to Thanks

Once again, replies to this type of situation don't address the real problem. You boss is COMPLETELY (as in totally, absolutely) out of line! Since when does authority grant someone the right to curse and yell. I know wherein I speak because I've had to deal with several of these. Make it VERY clear to your boss (and HR if needs be) that he is to communicate in a calm and professional way. Thst is not only your right, it is your responsibility to correct this behavior as it affects everyone.

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Thanks

by maecuff In reply to To the point

Actually, it ended up not being so bad. While I was the one HEARING the anger, it turns out that it wasn't really directed at me. Hate to be selfish, but as long as I'm not getting reamed, I'm happy. Besides, it's so much easier to deal with the issue at hand if you don't have the stess of dealing with someone's anger on top of it. I'd love to be the type of person who can just **** off these types of outbursts, but I have difficulty doing so. I go through feeling guilty or feeling inadequate, feeling defensive and when it's all said and done, I'm just plain old tired.

Truthfully, the ONE thing that changed my focus last week, is my 7 year old son got the lead in the Christmas play. I am so much looking forward to watching the little guy. It reminded me that there is far more to my life than worrying about things that are beyond my control. The best I can do is fix it as best I can.

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