Congrats to the Sitecore team who won the prestigious Web Idol competition in Aarhus at the jboye08 conference last week and took home the enormous trophy, which is already prominently featured on their website. Sitecore participated back in 2006, when Norwegian eZ won, and then did not participate in 2007, when eZ won yet again.
It was a refreshing and funny demo by Sitecore, but I still agree with Tony Byrne (CMS Watch) who participated as a judge and commented in his post on Web Idol 2008:
"general crowd consensus was that this set of demos were less interesting and polished than previous years"
I regularly sit in on vendor demos, and have seen both better and worse demos. What continually surprises me is that vendors often do not prepare very well, nor do they always know their own product as well as one would expect. What made this year's version of Web Idol a good one - despite the harsh commentary from the entertaining judges - was that the demos actually gave a very realistic impression of how well vendors demonstrate their own product in front of buyers.
The current trend seems to be towards prerecorded demos, as they are less likely to go wrong and much more polished. As an example from jboye08 last week, IBM showed a 14 minute prerecorded demo in a session by Krishnan Hariharan (Product Manager, IBM) on Exceptional Web Experiences with Next Generation Portals. A Project Manager should surely be offering a live demo!
My advice to buyers of web solutions:
- Insist on live demos and not prerecorded demos
- Accept that in live demos things may go wrong
- Tell the vendor that the live demo is very important as this is your opportunity to test drive the system (would you buy a car without a test drive?)
In my opinion, the best part about Web Idol is that the practitioners vote for the winner!