Open Insights 15 – Marketing About Technology

By Sean Hull

Founder and Senior Consultant

January 1, 2006

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to another year of Heavyweight Internet Group’s monthly newsletter.

Please forward to interested friends and colleagues. Subscription information can be found at the end.

Please also visit our sister site Oracle and Open Source for more frequent updates.

In This Issue:

Feature: Marketing About Technology

On The Lighter Side

Past Issues

Technical Articles

Marketing About Technology

At a recent day long seminar on Oracle technology I sat in on a panel where the

audience asked questions, and the panel responded with their professional expe

riences on that technology. One question was on Real Application Clusters, and whether it was a recommended solution for High Availability in a given environment. Should we go with RAC?

What struck me at that moment was two very opposing visions. One was of a bore

d technologist, who, having implemented the perfect high availability solution has very little to do because it runs so well. He affectively lets his genius work him out of a job. The technology just runs, and he has nothing really to do! The other vision was of a marketing/sales team, who has just sold a company on the latest wizbang technology that will save the business millions. They’re very excited because they know how much revenue it will bring into the consulting company.

What’s wrong with these two pictures? Well obviously the former picture of the

technologist who has nothing to do, we all know (I hope) is a fantasy. Despite all the marketing in the world self-managing systems remain, and I think will forever remain, a figment of the imagination. The complexity of technology systems, whether from security issues, upgrades, bugs, patches, new features, or new application development, will forever keep the technology administrator busy. Now the latter picture, I hope, also sounds fantastical, that of the perfectly happy consulting group who get everything they want. The truth is with enough insight, investigation, and research you can and should educate yourself be forehand about what’s reasonable, and within reach.

But what I also think is important, and want to draw your attention to is the two distinct perspectives. The technologists perspective is, or at least should

be to simplify the technology so it’s boring. So it’s ordinary in a way that

makes the business run smoothly. That way the technology facilitates, and provides, but doesn’t hinder, or become a nuisance. Now we know all technologists may not be of the mind to simplify, but we can point in this direction. So for instance when we look at upgrading systems to the “latest and greatest” we might think twice, and imagine being on the oldest supported version, which has every known bug ironed out, and support has a good document on every issue already tweaked, honed, and polished for your use. This isn’t as glamourous as using the latest Agile Software or Grid technology, but it may well be the most reliable.

And what of the other perspective? The marketing and sales perspective is to build the business, and in the case of consulting, find challenges, and ever bigger problems for which experts will be needed. This is a natural consequence of perspective, to build that type of business.

What you as a client hiring a professional services firm should keep in mind is all of these perspectives, as they all come into play, and point different minds in different directions. Hopefully with enough foresight, you can hire the right group, with just the right balance that won’t end up creating more opportunities for themselves, than they solve for you.

On the lighter side

Everyone who enjoys the great technology of google, but also wonders from time to time if there is an end in site should check out this great piece over at the Onion Google Announces Plan to Destroy All Information It Can’t Index.