Killer features: IJW™ and SEP®

This post is based on an article I wrote for the internal newsletter while I was working at Quinticon.  Thanks to Quinticon’s M.D. Geoff Willson for giving permission to reproduce it here.
There
are a number of current trends in enterprise IT that I believe are driven by a
single underlying cause; IT is hard.  In
particular, organising a group of people to deliver IT services to an
organisation is hard.  We have all seen
the symptoms; running out of disk space, floor space, vendor support, and
more.  I am not surprised to hear of
equipment sitting unused for 12 months after purchase.  It is not the physical installation that is
hard, but planning and implementing the changes to integrate the equipment into
existing systems. 
Despite
decades of experience and best practice frameworks such as ITIL organisations
repeatedly struggle to stay ahead and successfully delver the full suite of IT
services.  Most IT departments have the skills
to carry out the integration, so why is it still so difficult?  

I can
service a motorcycle engine, insert a naso-gastric feeding tube and bake hot cross
buns.  But while I have these skills, I
am not as quick, efficient or simply as good as someone who does this
regularly.  We at Quinticon have the
integration experience, but it takes
time to study and gain the understanding of the client organisations systems
required to perform a successful integration.
This is why “It Just Works™” (IJW) is such a powerful message to IT
decision makers.  This is a key part of
the sales message for a number of products including Oracle Exadata, VCE VBlock
and Nimble Storage.  The cost of
transition is significant to most organisations, especially when business
impact is included in the calculation. 
Any product that has the ability to significantly reduce this is looked
on favourably
One of the biggest buzzwords in IT today is
“Cloud”.  The list of advantages touted
for cloud solutions is long and includes “faster”, “cheaper”, but also “easier”.  In many cases cloud providers have capacity
available for immediate use, and can take advantage of economies of scale to drive
down costs.  Also importantly using a
cloud provider takes a whole bunch of infrastructure complexity and makes it ”Somebody
Else’s Problem®” (SEP). 
For an organisation, or IT manager, that is struggling juggle the
competing demands, signing a contract with a supplier is offering to take away
some of those demands looks very attractive.

The purpose of this article is not to argue that these
are the only factors driving IT decision-making or marketing.  There are however some very non-technical
“features” that are often overlooked but still play a significant role in
decision making.  “It Just WorksÔ ” and ”Somebody Else’s
ProblemÒ”
are two of those that I see as significant in our customers and industry.
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