If the tech don’t fit, you must convict

  • Too many vendors make claims that they don’t need to make
  • ‘Position, position, position’ should be the tech vendor’s mantra

If the tech don’t fit, you must convictTHE usual arguments on Twitter about new technology and solutions run the gamut from ‘It isn't real’ to ‘There's only one real cloud.’
 
These ‘discussions’ seem to go on and on, and every time a new solution is introduced they are reignited. Is all tech questionable, are all services terrific, are particular services from specific vendors better?
 
Most often, it's more about the fit in a specific organisation or company, so how you position yourself is the key.
 
The rub
 
Too many vendors make claims that they don’t need to make. The claims are wrong or at a minimum, a bit of a reach, yet the technology underlying the claim is actually good. Why add ‘It even makes coffee’ to an advertisement about a Swiss Army knife? Doesn’t the knife already do many useful things very well?
 
If you've got a good product, sell it on its merits.
 
In the case of modern technology solutions, we’re often hearing one or more of the following three terms: Cloud; big data; and SDN (Software Defined Networking).
 
Really, you’ve added a management tool to vSphere and now you have a ‘cloud’ product? You provide a data sync solution for Teradata arrays and that means you're in the ‘big data’ market? Maybe you've figured out how to apply passwords to a common set of switches with a single command – well then, yes, you must have an SDN product.
 
My biggest beef is with the use of the term cloud to support almost every new product and service release. Even the phone company thinks it’s important for the customer to believe its service is running in the cloud.
 
I mean really, who cares? But even more specifically, it’s the marketing pitches of cloud-ish products to internal IT teams that are driving many of us in the Twitterverse to frothiness.
 
Consider the debate about public versus private cloud. The debate is mostly dead now, and the private cloud exists, but you’re not doing private cloud believers (like me) any favours when you sell a solution that’s really just some simple scripts on virtualisation and you call it ‘cloud.’
 
If the tech don’t fit, you must convictThe deal
 
The deal is, scripts on virtualisation can be a great solution. Just because it isn’t cloud doesn’t mean it’s inherently bad … just that it's not cloud.
 
While the ‘real’ cloud may be the long-term destination for virtually all infrastructure, it doesn't mean that more effective and automated use of your servers isn't still a worthy pursuit.
 
It’s also true that in many cases, applying some simple automation and virtualisation to infrastructure is all many IT organisations should be trying to do (right now). Moving legacy applications to the cloud is fraught with risks and are of limited value.
 
On the other hand, being able to quickly and uniformly apply common policies and/ or patches to application environments can be real handy.
 
Lastly, many organisations are as ready to adopt cloudy or agile operations as a Yugo is ready to run the Indy 500.
 
Of course if your product or service sucks, then in the long run it won't matter what you're telling the customer, but you might as well start from a point of trust.
 
Next time
 
Position, position, position – it’s like the technology vendor equivalent of the real estate mantra of location, location, location.
 
Determine how and where your solution actually fits in the varied landscape of IT organisations and industry verticals, and then put the positive spin on what it really does.
 
I know this sounds like what every company does. Yet interestingly, I speak with company reps every day that don’t understand the drivers that can and often do affect IT-buying decisions.
 
The hardest part is that many of these decisions aren’t based on logic. In the world of sales, IT is probably more complex than almost any other product or service category.
 
Mark Thiele is the executive vice-president of Data Center Tech at Switch Communications. He is a long-time blogger and enthusiastic industry evangelist. This was first published as a blog here and is reprinted on DNA with his permission.
 
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