Beware Technology for Technology's SakeBy Dave Sobel | Posted 2010-02-08 Email Print
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A technology solution may be a great idea for one company with one particular set of needs, but unless your organization has those same needs then you’re not necessarily going to see the same benefits.
Paul Mah wrote a blog called "The State of Virtualization in SMBs," which is something of a response to some interviews I did recently. (What a cyclical world blogs have made this!) Paul also wrote a piece about Virtualization, "Not Worth it for Most SMBs."
I’m not entirely sure what the thesis of Paul’s piece is, but one thing struck me in reading it, which is an important point that often is lost by everyone in the technology business--no one technology is a solution to every problem.
It’s easy to talk about specific cases where technology solves a problem. Paul discusses disaster recovery and business continuity uses (which I’ve also highlighted and believe in), and I’ve also discussed the idea of moving legacy systems from aging hardware to new hardware using virtualization. In fact, most discussions of virtualization focus on a particular use or implementation that yields a return.
These are very useful discussions. Learning from the experiences of others benefits the entire industry, and building on those successes moves technology and business forward. Good technologists look for patterns of success and failure, and make decisions based on those trends.
What is dangerous is a "me too" approach to technology, or implementing technology for technology’s sake. A technology solution may be a great idea for one company with one particular set of needs, but unless your organization has those same needs then you’re not necessarily going to see the same benefits.
Remember what your mother told you when you were little: "If little Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you jump off one too?"
Technology decisions are decided by business requirements. Without business requirements, metrics, and a clear understanding of the "Why" part of the decision, the project will not be successful. There have been some studies on this – from a CA announcement dating back to 2007, which stated that 44% of virtualization deployments fail. The major reason? "Inability to quantify ROI." As I preach over and over again in my organization, what gets measured, gets managed.
Paul’s piece ends with the comment that management tools and virtualization ratios are now the focus of virtualization in the SMB. I would argue that more importantly, education is the primary "next step" as virtualization technology matures. This is no different from many previous SMB technology challenges. IT consultants, IT organizations, and business owners continue to need to approach IT with a critical eye. Management tools and virtualization ratios will make virtualization a better investment for more and more SMBs in the future, but without some level of business acumen, it doesn’t matter how good the technology is.
Not all technology solutions are right for every instance. Just because you have a hammer, not everything is a nail.
Dave Sobel is CEO of Evolve Technologies, a Washington, D.C.-based solution provider, and regular contributing columnist to Channel Insider.