Working with Big Companies?

I just got off a very frustrating call with a partner. We closed a deal with this particular company 9 months ago, at the Phocuswright conference.

They mentioned that they were redoing their API (for non-tech people that is the way you get access to data from another company), that we could integrate with the older one, or we could wait a month or two for the new one. Since I had plenty on my plate, I wasn’t in a huge hurry, so I figured I’d be as efficient as possible and just wait for the new version of the API.

For the last 9 months I have now been getting estimates of “just another couple of weeks,” or “we’re undergoing some internal testing,” etc. They have since cutoff access to their old API, so our decision isn’t reversible. The last time I called I pointed out that we had been waiting 9 months, and the response was that he wasn’t gonna give us another estimate because the last ones had been so off the mark, and it’d be ready when it’s ready.

Not jumping on access to their old API was a big mistake, and one that is costing us revenue everyday.

But it’s a good lesson.

Mozio recently just discussed a partnership with a 3rd party vendor, they said that in the coming months they were going to make all their clients accessible through one API. This would make our lives much easier, right now we have to go to every shuttle, taxi, limo, airporter, etc. to close a deal and then integrate with them separately.

If the 3rd party software vendor they use was willing to give us access to all of their clients at once, it would save us a lot of time. But it wouldn’t be ready until the fall, would we be willing to wait?

I politely declined and said we couldn’t afford to wait the few months to integrate with their clients, and started approaching them all individually. Secretly I was making the calculation that if they told me fall, that could mean as far back as Spring. Thanks but no thanks.

The moral of the story: if you are dependent on a couple major suppliers/partners and you have the choice between efficiency and getting earlier access, ALWAYS get earlier access.

And don’t believe a word of their time estimates.

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