What's Coming Next?
What’s coming next? Believe me, there is always something coming next. The tech industry is fueled by two very powerful motivators and they are money and the love of technology. To make money you have to invest money into researching new technology, and those that love technology love to receive money to research more of it. It’s a never ending cycle, and a good one, up to a point.
See, in order to make money in a crowded industry you have to do one of the following:
Have a superior product and show the requirement for it
Have an inferior product but convince others it’s good enough due to the price.
Have an interesting product and convince others to invest and fill with hope.
Launch a misinformation campaign to drive customers away from competitors.
Of course this is not all inclusive but rather to make a satirical point...everyone is always trying to convince you their product is where you need to spend your money! It never ends because companies want your money. It’s amazing how many times I’ve heard a sales pitch about why I need to upgrade my network, or why I need to switch vendors, or why I need to do x,y, and z. Ultimately, there are two perspectives I must have as a technician, two perspectives I must have as an engineer, and two perspectives I must have as an IT manager.
Technician Perspective #1 Are my employers and customers expectations met?
Technician Perspective #2 Is my network protecting the interests of my employer and customer.
If the answer is yes to #1 and #2, then as a technician, I’m satisfied and continue to ensure my network is healthy by applying updates and routine maintenance.
Engineer Perspective #1 Is the current network flexible enough to adapt to future requirements?
Engineer Perspective #2 Can I make the job of the technicians easier and more efficient?
If the answer to #1 is yes and #2 is no then I’m satisfied and can continue to ensure I have earned my increase paycheck over the technician. But if not, then we need to look at no cost, low cost, and unlimited budget options to fix the issues before they inhibit the progress of company goals, and to increase efficiency of the technician relook our tools and processes.
IT Manager Perspective #1 Is our IT department helping or hurting the company financial goals?
IT Manager Perspective #2 Is our IT department giving our company a competitive edge?
If the answer to #1 is no and #2 is yes then I’m good, can go to back to the golf course, and feel justified in getting paid more than the engineers and technicians while doing less work (joking! But maybe not…). If we are being a financial burden then we really have to break down our department costs. Can we offset annual maintenance budgets with shifting more finances to salary and attracting more skillset, are we wasting finances in lieu of any open source options? Do we have any systems bleeding our budget that were purchased due to unrealistic disaster scenarios that we can scale back? How can our department utilize IT to improve the organization's competitive edge through by either saving time, streamlining operations through IT, or enhanced customer interaction?
All these questions have to be asked and understood before talking to any sales personnel. Never let a salesperson tell you where you are falling short, because truth be told, they are setting a climate in which you’re only option and saving grace is going to be their product. There are many great products, but are the ends worth the financial means? It is really that crucial or necessary? Can your current processing be fixed instead of bringing in a new solution? What are the skillset requirements to maintain and troubleshoot the new product? Is the vendor forcing you into a recurring contract and cost as a part of this sale?
If you’re going to be in this industry there will always be buzz about the next best thing, how things will revolutionize the industry, and how you’re current solutions will be obsolete. Virtually all of it is not true and truth be told, the reason why most of us have to upgrade our networks, is simply because vendors choose to stop supporting their products and force us to buy new ones. Don’t always believe the hype, and with time and experience, you’ll be able to sift through the fog and truly tell what is significant and what is not.