Technology for Technology’s Sake

A couple of months ago I had a phone conversation with our partner rep at an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with whom we have had a long and happy relationship. Jack (not his real name) was trying to convince me of the value of cloud servers for our SMB clients, something this ISP now offers to bundle with bandwidth, voice services, and everything else they do. I started in, “What do you suggest they do with their very own cloud server, Jack? Host their own website? Run a QuickBooks terminal server?” “Sure any of those,” he said.

Obviously I was baiting him, as both of those are terrible ideas for most small businesses. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Switching to the latest thing should be based on business needs, and the relative costs should be justifiable in comparison to whatever you’re doing now and the new features you are potentially gaining. But that’s the way the technology industry often works, new “features” are often added that might be relevant to 1% of the market (or zero), and then those things are spouted as something you really need right now by people who don’t know anything about your business (and often know even less about the technology they’re hawking).

An important part of what we do at Ripple is help people figure out which technologies, in which configurations, make sense for what they do now and where they want to go. My advice for you if you’re not a Ripple client? Ask the technology hawker “why” continuously until s/he has successfully related it to your business, in terms you can understand. If they fall flat, then it’s not consultancy you’re getting, it’s a sales pitch.

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