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Managers Typology: The Captive


Picture Source: Wikipedia

In previous posts I classified Customers, e.g. Customers Typology: The Social.  In other posts I classified Consultants e.g. Consultants Typology: The Consultant who Knows Everything.
In this post series I will try to classify Managers.

Why should I post about Captive Manager if I already wrote about The Captive Customer and about The Captive Customer who Knows Everything?

There are similarities between a Captive Customer and a Captive Manager, but they are not identical. 
The following real Case Study would clarify the differences.  

Tale of two Managers
Two Senior IT Managers were working for a large customer of mine.
The first Manager was a Microsoft's Captive Customer.
Whenever he had to chose a Microsoft's  product vs. another vendor's product he automatically selected Microsoft's product. 
If you read my post The Captive Customer, you understand why this selection method is wrong.

The other Senior IT Manager was also a Captive. However, he was IBM's Captive Customer. Whenever he had to chose a IBM's product vs. another vendor's product he automatically selected IBM 's product.
If you read my post The Captive Customer, you understand why this selection method is wrong.

I am sure that the difference between a Captive Customer and a Captive Manager was clarified. The Customer (the company, the company's CIO as well as other Senior Managers) were not Captive Customers.

Additional Disadvantages
Two Captive Managers cause additional disadvantages not cites in the post The Captive Customer

Every major selection process between Microsoft's product and IBM's product was a political war instead of professional decision.

Every non-strategic product selection by one of the two Captive managers ignored other systems or enterprise considerations. 

J2EE (now JEE) vs. .Net
Unfortunately, The company had to decide which Front End should be deployed in a strategic Endeavour including Core Systems?

The first Manager's answer was .Net.
The second Manager answer was J2EE (afterwards it was renamed to JEE).
As you already know it was a Political War.

As a Consultant I had to present my opinion. 
I was sure that for that enterprise J2EE Front End was the right solution.

The main arguments supporting my point of view were:


1. .Net was still in Beta

2. The Back end was based on IBM Mainframe and IBM software products.

3. I doubt if .Net of that time could support large implementations with thousands users.


JEE vs. .Net war
Few years after my customer's decision there were a lot of almost religious wars between J2EE supporters and .Net supporters. The war in that Enterprise was a trailer of the future wars.  
I am an independent consultant and not a Technology Religious Consultant.
Sometimes I recommended J2EE and sometimes I recommended .Net.
Each recommendation was based upon the specific Customer characteristics and objectives.

The Microsoft's Captive Manager argued fiercely for .Net.
I had no choice so I fought for J2EE in the specific context

I had to quote and write for J2EE and against .Net.
I had to answer any articles against J2EE. 
.Net supporters work was easier: they send everything I wrote to Microsoft Israel and received an answer written in Israel or in Redmond. 

Actually, I could do the same because IBM and SUN Microsystems offered me their help.
I told them that I do not need the kind of help .Net supporters received, but I appreciate if they email me anything that could help me. 
I told them I prefer neutral sources and not vendors based sources.

The end of the War
I found an article in which a senior Manager in Microsoft's .Net development team was interviewed. He said that .Net (still in Beta) is not yet mature for Large Enterprises. I quote the article including that manager's name.

No one, even in Redmond, could have a convincing argument refuting my point. J2EE won the professional war. However, Microsoft's Captive Manager won the political war. 
The customer implemented .Net Front End.

Few Years after
I was working for other customers. I read that my ex-customer failed in implementing .Net Front End in the large Endeavour. They decided to switch to J2EE Front End.





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More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.

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