This guest post is brought to you by John Stepp, president of Free Tech Consultants.
The best technology decisions are often difficult given the tsunami of information out there and the need to maximize business impact per dollar spent. I recently spoke with a company that was regretting their decision to partner with one of the “name” technology providers because everything was too complicated. Here are some simple rules that if adhered to throughout the evaluation cycle will make everyone in the enterprise happier and more productive.
RULE 1: Buy early in the product life cycle
Now I am not saying buy technology just as soon as it is introduced. But buying a little early in the product lifecycle and experiencing a few glitches is better than buying something that has been around a year or so. The turnover and abandonment of products today gives all of us a short window. The older the product, the sooner that it hits end of life with associated maintenance, upgrade or replacement costs. Get as much life with as little cost as you can.
RULE 2: Buy from companies that will be in the business for the next 5 years
If you want to complicate your life, there is no better way than to buy technology from established companies on their way downhill or new companies that are not funded adequately or from companies experimenting in a new market space. The exception to this rule is any company with a product that is so far better or cost effective than their competitors that you are sure they will be successful. Otherwise, why risk being left with an orphan product? And this applies to the cloud as well. Just because you have an “out” clause does not mean your life will not be turned upside down if your magically cost effective cloud company goes south on you.
RULE 3: SIMPLICITY!
Make simplicity an integral part of your technology buying decision. That means:
- Simple to install
- Simple to maintain
- Simple to train and use for everyone in the organization
You have to demand proof of simplicity. No one is going to tell you about how complicated certain facets of technology really are. Talk is cheap. You have to dig deep to ferret out complexities within an end to end technology adoption. And complexity always increases costs and lowers adoption rates of said technology. I could go on, but I want to keep things simple.
RULE 4: Buy technology that works
If you cannot be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that your technology will work, get a SLA or forget about it. Some big companies are selling things that not only do not work, but really never will. Check beyond the normal references to find out about any skeletons in the closet. We have all been fooled by this before and it is the most difficult rule to follow since assurance of working can violate rule number one above (buy early in the product life cycle). Just remember glitches are OK, but down time is a killer.
If these four rules are followed, simplicity and success will follow. But they have to be followed throughout the technology buying decision. If you take your eye off the ball, it could be strike three, or worse.