Deutsche Bank Pulls Out of Broadvision Deal

A version of this story first appeared in Customer strategy magazine, published by London-based TBC Research: www.tbcresearch.com

Deutsche Bank has pulled out of a potential deal with Web application vendor Broadvision amid concerns about service quality and high costs.
The bank's decision mirrors a recent damaging move in the U.S. when flagship customer American Airlines decided to ditch Broadvision in favour of Art Technology Group. That move followed claims of poor service and the use of a programming language that many industry pundits believe will become redundant.

A technical source who was involved alongside Broadvision in contract negotiations with Deutsche Bank claimed the potential deal was sunk by Broadvision's inflexibility over price and worries over post implementation service.

He claimed that Broadvision was rigid in its pricing and was asking for an upfront fee of 1 million Euros. He also expressed concerns about the software, saying that it is difficult to work out of the box and requires extensive commitment from any service partner.

Broadvision hotly disputed the allegations and said its present customer list in Europe of 300 clients, including Barclays and Lloyds TSB, was evidence of its technologies' efficacy. Ian Turner, sales director at Broadvision, said the company could not comment on the Deutsche Bank project other than to say all the suppliers in the deal had been dropped.

However, the claims do raise issues about the company's ability to service its customers. Turner conceded that there had been problems in the U.S., saying: "When you have grown from a couple of hundred employees to several thousand in a short space of time you don't spend as much time (on service) as you should, but it is a lesson we have learned from American Airlines and in some senses it is to be expected."

The American Airlines loss was a severe blow for Broadvision but the company has addressed the issue in the US by significantly increasing the number of professional services staff. However, concerns persist. The source pointed to Broadvision's use of what is deemed an older programming language to build its software, despite the recent explosion in the use of the Java language. The danger for any end user with software written in other languages is the problems it would face if Java does become the industry norm for writing new applications.

Turner believes that Java is overhyped, but the company is launching a re-architected Java version at the beginning of next year. Deutsche Bank was unavailable for comment.

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