I guess I should first point out that I am or was until about 10 months ago an IT manager myself. I spent 20 years in companies of all shapes of sizes and that before you feel rage at my indignation, I should also point out that I now spend my life on the other side of the table. As a pre-sales specialist, and after taking a raft of accreditations, I realise that I never stood a chance in keeping up when life was always around keeping the infrastructure on, the projects being delivered and balancing the need for more with a reducing (or static) budget.
The statement (that is the title of the post) comes from my now boss at Bechtle. It was something he said to me about 6 months before I joined Bechtle - a 10,000 strong IT solutions company. Before I had joined, I only knew three people, the MD, my account manager and my new boss, whom I very rarely used as a pre-sales resource. I mistakenly took it as educated arrogance, what did he know, he may be accredited at the highest level, but I have a £1.5bn company I keep running by finding the very solutions he is trying to sell me…
What I didn’t realise is not only was this a statement of intent; that he sees his role as someone who as part of the uncharged service is there to ensure I had that unbiased (i.e. not vendor-led) and deep knowledge to hand, but also that in an IT Manager’s life, the number of services that are being supported, with normally a 3-5yr cycle, they are forever on an intense cycle of education for the next project fulfilment and delivery to then have to put it down ready for the next cycle, normally only to be picked up when either something collides or its EOL/not fit for purpose.
Life for the IT Manager is not made any easier in that most project delivery now is made more complex when all environments are converged; security is now an ecosystem, infrastructure comes in building blocks, client devices are almost irrelevant but their management is not only expected but a legal requirement. Purchasing and delivering pretty much anything now, more than ever, is not only a decision that will likely last 5 years, it is most certainly will buy into a suite/ecosystem or environment that will be built on rather than sit alongside another.
So, with my old IT Manager hat on I have questioned why I didn’t use my reseller’s free tech more often. I am not sure it was about trust. After a lot of thought, I think it was just not realising that I should be saving myself hours on Google and letting them do the work, narrowing down a product set to maybe an easier list so that I can do the last bit of research when I have aligned the solutions with my environment and problems. In an environment always restricted in resource, the invisible extra member of my team, should have been put to work on every area I am thinking of, but more importantly every area I was not as I didn’t have the time for.
I don’t think for instance, I even considered that my presales resource may have loads of information about each technical area that through NDA is not even available to me on Google, not to mention that he was having meetings at least once a month if not more frequent with technical specialists for each product set to discuss the direction and roadmap of the products even if he was certified in that product. The biggest thing I missed; why do something for the first time, when I have free lessons from those that trod before me.
I would hope, as a presales technical person, I can listen to your business goals, discuss options and challenge you on areas like Business Continuity and Strategy. It’s not a test, you are not being marked, but I bet in my 10 months in the job I have already met at least 3-4 companies like yours and so have some metrics on why some of those things you have Googled may not be right and why you should maybe look at some other areas of your infrastructure first. What you choose to do with that free information is up to you, and just in case you felt that the end of this became a little self-serving or smug, the power is always with you, the customer.
Why not add me to your team today?