The Bad: The market has never been flusher with interesting and important tech for the CIO to choose from.
The fact that the modern CIO has so much to choose from often makes his/her job increasingly difficult. Think about how many of us struggle to choose when confronted with a lengthy menu at a restaurant; and that’s just to choose between Kung Pau Shrimp and Mongolian Beef. Now consider that same problem only where the risk is spending millions of dollars on a choice that might never work—or worse, negatively impact business performance.
Technology solution adoption is accelerating while technology choices increase – a compounding effect
The fact is that in the technology space, there are many solutions, technologies, and service options for every opportunity you’re working on. The difficulty of making distinguishing one option from all the others is compounded by the effect of which of these choices best fits with the choices you made for any or all of the parallel and or integrated systems.
The traditional approach to IT solution acquisition (especially at scale) is broken
Historically, the vast majority of mature IT organizations in need of an innovative solution would do some semblance of a Request for Proposal (RFP). This RFP would go out to the usual suspects: usually 3-5 partners/vendors. Once the responses came in, there would be some work with Proof of Concept (POC). Sometimes the POC would be done before RFPs were created, and sometimes they’re done only with the top RFP respondents. Unfortunately, there are problems with the traditional approach.
Problems with the traditional approach:
Time – the investment in time to research multiple products has a direct impact on the value equation for adoption. In case you haven’t heard me say it before, fast following is not the way to win the race; and let’s face it, business success is a race. It’s also true that the longer you wait to adopt a new solution, the worse your ROI becomes. In other words, you’re technically bleeding cash (opportunity) every day you waste during the adoption of a new solution.
Acquisition Team – Acquisition Team – the folks involved in making the acquisition are often not appropriately equipped to determine the qualifications of complex and rapidly changing solutions. Let’s face it translating a new technology into your existing IT architecture is hard enough, but what about how it fits with corporate strategy? Having partners and or tools to facilitate this process is a must for most organizations.
Validation of Capacity & Deliverability to Requirements – in today’s large scale IT environments, you can be making choices that might saddle your company with a solution that will cost much more than it needs to, or it could have a service limitation that wasn’t considered appropriately. The CFO doesn’t want to hear about how cheap a solution is, they want to know “how much it will cost every month.” The business leadership would want to know that it accelerates their business and won’t ever be in the way of an opportunity.
How can you mitigate your risk during the acquisition process?
The modern IT environment requires easy access to new solutions for a number of reasons not the least of which is agility. However, as indicated above, the traditional approach is the enemy of agility. So, if you need agility, and you need to manage your costs and solution requirements what can you do? You must have access, access, access, and then maybe a little more access.
Access to solutions in a diverse and in-proximity environment is a foundational must. Without proximity, you can’t possibly adopt, change, increase, or decrease your selection choices as quickly, safely or cost effectively. In the modern data center, you should be able to attach to any one of a handful of different providers in any solution space all in the same building. You should be able to build and destroy network connections to different providers in real time with little or no cost impact and do it securely. You also need to know that any data you move or grant access to will be protected, and you can quickly recover or update it when necessary. Just as importantly, you need to be able to plan your acquisition to fit the way you do business, with the appropriate balance of cost, service comparison, performance review and finally contract language.
As I said earlier, most CFOs will ask several questions about your planned purchase, but it’s almost always guaranteed that one of those questions will be, “What’s our cost per month?” If your answer is, “It depends,” then you likely have a non-starter.
The problems associated with using the traditional IT acquisition strategy are a big part of why the Rob Roy decided to build a powerful independent IT ecosystem and why we brought 6fusion in to improve access. When you marry the scale and partner ecosystem associated with being in a SUPERNAP to the strengths of the 6fusion solution, you begin to recognize how important this relationship will become for many businesses.
Whether you need to buy at scale, put a hedge in on potential future demand, and or want clarity on how what you bought is being used the 6fusion tool set will be a major benefit.
Take the time to save some time
Take a few hours to understand how the acquisition of new technology services can be improved by being a part of a strong technology ecosystem like the SUPERNAP’s, while utilizing tools that streamline and strengthen your ability to make the best choices for your business. If you do you won’t just save time, you’ll reduce your risk and better manage your cost, while keeping both the CFO and your executive officers happy.