Excuse me, Mr. Customer; we’re 100% ready to listen to your needs. We can’t talk about “Solutions” if we don’t have any clue about what your problems are.
Let’s identify first the problem to come up with a solution later.
Nothing more could make me happier than take my PPT out of my pocket to show you a list of our products and services. However, the best way to start is listening to you. If you don’t know what to say, I can bring you a list of questions that we can use as reference of our conversation:
1. What are your most important applications (email, ERP, Databases…)? You can bring me details about vendors, capacities and versions… We are independent vendors; my impartiality brings more empathy, don’t you think?
2. What infrastructure components support the operation of these applications (servers, storage, network devices, backup…)? You can bring me information about vendors, models, capacities, versions, etc. To this point we can know what kind of issues they are dealing with everyday, such as using JBOD (just a bunch of disks) to store huge and highly transactional databases without a clear data management and protection strategy.
3. Availability and Data Integrity: How do you deal with a data corruption or lost event? What is your Disaster Recovery Plan for your most critical services? I am sorry to tell you that tape technology is almost useless these days and difficult to be managed.
4. Security: What about your control access policies? Is your application really protected? When was the last time that you did a penetration test? What do you do if you find out that you are being under attack? How do you try a security breach?
5. Operation: Is your operation agile enough? Are you costs effective? Have you ever thought to use orchestration to reduce risk and speed operation tasks?
…I think you’ve got it at this point.
Now it’s time to diagnose your customer’s pain-points and our opportunity to figure out the right medicine –or to run away as faster as we can if we find out you are a lost cause–
My own experience is in a big part of the cases or issues that are related to buy technology to solve things, but after several tries, you are not using it as you had planned. Solutions don’t mean replace every piece of hardware and software that you’ve got a couple of years ago.
People confuse solutions with products and lose the required abstraction to identify the problem source and the solution that really fits.
Vendors don’t help so much; you could be blind by their new products and lose the way to solve the main issue into your operation.
Typically we‘ve heard IT managers telling “my application is slow” and think if they’ve got a specific hardware/software stack –or converged infrastructure stack- of a couple millions of dollars -and usually suggested and sell it by the very database’s software vendor – they can solve it in the blink of an eye. I am not telling this cannot be a solution, and telling you will never know where the issue really located was through that way. How will you fell –and your business- if this doesn’t solve it at all? It could have been just a couple of miss-configured tables or the lack of disk spindles into your storage, and you could have been solved it with a couple of 10Ks and save millions.
Sometimes products don’t meet all the expectations that you have and take you more issues to take care of, like new backup and DRP strategies –probably the new vendor’s suggestion is to buy other infrastructure stack for better availability and spend a couple of millions dollars more-
There is not such magic product that solves any problem.
The best way to solve you current headache is to identify the problem, and that requires “work” and analysis.
You can rely on us, we like to work, and “We love IT”. Swimming on problems makes us better and innovatives. Try us, don’t make us just fulfill a list of hardware and software components; we can make you save so much money and get a much better service.
Don’t just buy the product. Get the solution!