A veteran of the technology business cautions about over-reliance on any of those ‘experts’ | nnbw.com

A veteran of the technology business cautions about over-reliance on any of those ‘experts’

Gary Foote

Cheaper, faster, better or at least made to seem so. Sometimes technology is just “different”: made to seem cheaper, faster, better.

Companies and their salespeople will continue to invent new ways to wrap up their products and services in the best possible light without any hint that there might be any drawbacks. Techies will continue to do stupid things largely because they’re doing them for considerations of technology, rather than for business reasons and business efficiency.

I am a “salesman,” and I hate salespeople. I am a “consultant,” and I hate consultants. I am a “techy” and I hate techies. I “hate” each position or role because more often than not each of the stereotypes is right. The salesman sells, making promises only to go away after the sale … The consultant might very well give good suggestions (or tell you what you really already know, but do little to help implement). The techy makes changes in a “tech bubble,” with little consideration for the overall needs of the business and the people that need to actually use the technology.

Misdirection will continue as a prime selling technique labeling a endless annuity or monthly payment with plenty of exclusions as the preferred and latest, greatest way to conduct business.

Beware of experts: This, from a veteran of the U.S. Army, Marines and Special Forces: Beware of any who call themselves an “expert,” for they lack the humility of a professional.

Moving applications “to the cloud” is a fad, yes, a trend. However, there is little consideration of overall business efficiency in these efforts and offerings. Many times the change of one factor technology in this example, the use of “the cloud” will incur ancillary operational costs, costs not often included in the decision to change.

The Internet could we do without it? Unlikely. Are there some negatives sometimes some big negatives? Sure. You could substitute the word “Internet” with “cloud,” “SaaS” (Software as a Service), or any number of other technologies. But do you hear about these negatives and drawbacks from anyone selling you the technology (or facilitating its use or advising you)? Possibly. Probably not.

Cloud applications, for instance, are generally slower, require faster bandwidth, tend to be less secure and, overall, less efficient and more disruptive to business operations. And as for cloud provider’s SLAs (Service Level Agreements), unless you have a Fortune 1000 company, you likely will be told what their agreement is going to be (no negotiation of uptime, application speed, etc).

Consider that “99.9 percent guaranteed uptime” means an acceptance of 8.76 hours of downtime per year. If that time occurs during your operational hours, you have no recourse, except for possibly a fractional fee credit and you must request that credit. And often, SLAs include minimum acceptable downtime periods that eligible for credit perhaps reasonable if a few minutes, but not if excessive to your business particularly if that downtime is unscheduled.

Be sure to consider total cost of ownership in using or acquiring technology. You don’t just “dump” data to the cloud and it magically administers to itself. Someone in the business (of high authority and responsibility) must “mind the relationship,” and that naturally costs something.

Beware of false economies; consider total business costs and benefits. Include all aspects of a system, including how it integrates not just with your other technology, but how it integrates (or fails to) with the rest of your business operations particularly how productively you and your staff will be able to use it. Include costs of infrastructure and internet bandwidth upgrades, hosting and administrative costs, costs of downtime, and other ancillary costs. Calculate the present value of any recurring payments and look at the big picture. And look for vendors that will give you not just the pluses but the minuses as well of how their technology will apply to your business. You may find that a given piece of technology is just “different”: only made to seem cheaper, faster, better.

Gary Foote is the president and third-generation owner of Harry’s Business Machines, Inc. (HBM Technology Partners), which has been in business in Reno since 1928. Contact him at 775-322-4559 or gary@since1928.com.