IT Santa Clause Syndrome

IT Santa Clause Syndrome

Christmas is a time of year when people buy gifts for others. While it sounds quite nice, the author Joel Waldfogel in his book Scroogenomics points out that Christmas is a time of incredible waste because the purchaser does not typically know what the people they are buying gifts for want.

“..most gifts are relatively worthless to the less-than-enthused recipient, thus severing the link between the buying decision and the item’s value. Addressing the $66 billion in retail sales during the 2007 Christmas season, the author’s bewilderment is evident when he asks—would anyone buy this stuff for himself or herself? does anybody want it?—and answers his own question with a quote suggesting that gift giving may be too firmly entrenched to budge: There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got.”

Enterprise software is another area of purchasing where the people who make the software purchase decision are not the same people who end up using the software. Many executives believe they can decide which is the best software with little input from those that use the software. However, like Christmas givers, they don’t know as well as they think. While executives could include the users more significantly in the purchase decision, most buying companies do not sufficiently do this. This is why it is so rare to find that buyers end up with the best application for their needs.