People always ask me what I do for a living, and the simple quick answer is “I work on computers”. But I’ve found over the years that it is a lot more than that. I get to help people with a part of their daily lives that is often full of challenge and sometimes frustration.
Let’s face it, computers are meant to automate and simplify our lives, and there is no doubt that they have changed the way we do everything from book keeping to booking travel, and everything in between. Most businesses these days simply can’t survive without some level of automation technology, and with each passing generation, this automation gets more complicated as it seeks to provide a better return on investment. This means that technology professionals must be more in tune with what is going on in the daily lives of not only the computer system, but also the end user. The better we understand the business processes of our clients, and the goals they are trying to reach, the better we are able to support them when they need assistance in their daily lives.
This is where my rant begins with one of the big players in the technology business. Like when you fly, when you invest in technology you have choices. You can run down the highway to retail stores and pick up any number of computer components, such as whole systems, printers, peripherals, and the like. You can jump on numerous web pages and pick out gadgets and widgets made by a myriad of computer suppliers. And if the only question you are asking is “how much is it?” then any of these places may suffice to meet the particular need you are seeking to fill.
However, my opinion is that in this day of advanced technology, and an ever increasingly complex informational age that money is better spent investing wisely in the precise technology that will not only fit the need, but provide the best return on investment. This means that a professional who understands technology and the business need can evaluate the scenario, sort through the options, and provide a recommendation on the best possible investment in technology available. I realize that PCs aren’t the most expensive part of the technology pie, nor are printers, and peripherals, and even servers and networking components are getting cheaper. Just look around, every day someone is offering something new for just a few dollars less. The question lying just underneath the surface in this situation is, “why is that cheaper, what functionality is missing?”
In recent years, all of the big players in technology are buying up smaller technology companies to build their portfolio. As an example, HP, who is a strong partner with Axxys has a PC division, a server and storage division, as well as a software division, along with networking, security, and so on. Over the past few years, they’ve invested (purchased) companies like Left Hand and 3Par, along with probably hundreds of others. These were all strategic purchases to strengthen the technology offerings that we can offer to our clients. Because each client has a unique need, it’s simply not a one solution fits all game any longer, and HP has increased the breadth and depth of their technology offerings.
Dell has done the same, they’ve purchased numerous companies as well such as Equalogic, AppAssure, and the latest was SonicWall. I’m not saying there isn’t some strategic vision in those purchases, and I’m certainly not saying that Dell doesn’t know what they are doing. What I am saying is at the end of the day it is my opinion that Dell is not interested in helping your business succeed. They are focused on ensuring that they are able to sell another box at the lowest price. They are focused on volume sales, pushing boxes, a practice that went by the wayside in our world almost a decade ago.
The VAR/MSP community grew up years ago and realized that the real value in technology, is finding ways to leverage technology to help our clients succeed. It’s a simply philosophy really, if we help our clients make the best decisions when it comes to technology investments, that will ultimately help the client improve and grow their business, therefore we will in the long run be successful. We will grow with them. Our clients are a part of our team, we are a part of their organization and it’s in our best interest to serve their best interest. We’re not here to push boxes.
I’ve had the opportunity recently in consulting with clients to work alongside some of the Dell teams that have interacted with our clients. Support has been slow in some cases, and even more frustrating for our clients, is Dell has not been able to grasp or understand that lower quality in the technology equipment or slower response in the support process results in inefficiency for the client, and ultimately lost opportunity for the client while an end user/employee sits idle waiting for a solution.
I’m sure some people have had great interactions with Dell, and I’m not trying to paint the entire organization with a wide brush. As with any organization, there are individuals that will go above and beyond the call of duty to help people, because they are people persons so to speak. But it’s very clear to me that this is not the norm. Instead, when a client is down because a piece of equipment is offline, they are more concerned with the post R&D to figure out why the equipment failed, all the while the client is down and waiting on a solution.
The intended message here is that there are hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of options when considering a technology or solution to implement for a business, but there are considerably fewer organizations that understand the lasting impact of that technology. Axxys strives to partner with the best vendors available, those that understand we are here to serve our clients, and help them achieve their current goals for today and the future, and that the technology is only a piece of this process. By having the right people, the best partners, and solid processes we are able to build solutions that help our clients succeed. Dell may sell technology, but that doesn’t mean they sell it “right”, and that’s why I choose HP.