The romance of change, the excitement of new, the rush of purchasing power. We all get wrapped up in new projects and sometimes don't let the rational side of our brains take over to plan how to buy that new technology for our company or for ourselves. Peer pressure is strong. Our kids wearing "uggly" fur boots in the summer, that cost 3 times what normal shoes cost, is an everyday example of the power of peer pressure. I often look at those hot trends and wonder what it would take to create that same type of lemming movement for technology sales.
During our days in technology when IBM used to be a hardware company, there were lemming movements to buy IBM. For adults, these can be career-saving decisions to go with what everybody else went with. We used to hear that "yes, it costs more, but you never get fired for buying IBM."
It has taken me a few careers, almost 50 years in age, and a bunch of real-life examples to learn that one of the best ways to buy technology is to actually use it like you would if you had it. Since you don't have it yet, you have to create a plan for the test drive. The road that I have finally found that seems to work best is software. Think of the number of times that you have bought a new cell phone only to use it for the first time for what you want to other than voice, and discovered that you don't know how to do it, or that it does not work like you had hoped that it would. Cell phones-as-fashion-statements and peer pressure marketing make you buy the wrong thing?
Try Before You Buy
I am always amazed how many companies embark on the process of trying to solve serious business issues like excess inventory, runaway transportation costs, and budget-busting labor by looking at hardware first. The sexy sizzle of the latest and greatest is so attractive, exciting and powerful, that the logical mind gets pushed out of the way. Slow down, run a pilot, test the solution before you take the test drive home. Applications are what make the technologies so exciting, they are the delivery agents of change. Pilot projects simulate reality and give you the best chance to make the right decision when choosing a technology to solve a real business issue. It is kind of like renting the car to go snow skiing with and discovering that it is just right or not quite big enough or powerful enough for your needs. You learn a great deal, your power is not diminished, just delayed, and you end up with a much better decision in the end.
We push pilot projects in our business and offer software first, with two or three different good, better, and best choices for hardware. We have installed hundreds of millions of dollars of solutions in the mobile computing market with the worlds leading companies. Pilot projects work, they work well, and software is the first place that you should look when you are shopping for a solution to a real business issue.
Kurt Thomet has been in the computer industry at all levels for 25 years. He is currently President of Quest Solution.