Most weeks, I come on as an old grouch. I moan and groan about e-commerce vendors being fairground hucksters, and how the nation's bluest of IT chips are incapable of making the decision whether or not to support me in a modest e-commerce venture.
But this week, the clouds have parted, and I celebrate a British win, to rival Manchester United's. An old mate, Bill Pugsley, managing director of Perwill, an e-commerce software house, has told me that his US distributor has just landed a $100,000 deal to supply the back-office software for a major US e-shopping mall. He wouldn't tell me the name of the customer, as the press releases won't be going out for the next couple of months.
But he just had to get off his chest how chuffed he was.
His pleasure was partly that his success showed what a small British company could do in the US if it really goes for the business. Even in the e-commerce market, where the US is supposed to be two years ahead of the UK.
Pugsley had the guts to show his wares at America's major EDI standards conference at Las Vegas six weeks ago. It was a risk that paid off. He met his new customer on the stand.
I am pleased for Bill, because it proves so many things I have been yattering on about recently in this column. One is that to do e-commerce properly you have to provide a seamless channel from the customer's electronic shopfront through to his inventory systems and on to his supply chain.
The Perwill software does just that.
Bill proves the point that I made at that time that a small company, even a Brit, really dedicated to e-commerce can beat the hell out of any big boy, including any Yank, pretending to be in e-commerce because it is the flavour of the month. I am particularly chuffed that some of the monsters he beat for this particular deal were those very same dinosaurs who had refused to finance my modest e-commerce-friendly project two months ago.
You may recall that I mentioned that the MD of one small software vendor stopped me halfway in my selling spiel for my project to say "Richard, you're on". I can now reveal that was Bill Pugsley. The moral is that the little guy who makes quick decisions gets quick decisions. The big boys have nothing, but nothing, to offer.
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