"When all you own is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail."
– Abraham Maslow
Like most professions, IT has a large vendor following. Some days I feel like a doctor, fielding software and hardware vendors and sales people convincing me that I have a problem, and it’s one they can solve.
Many of these vendors use affiliate marketing to promote themselves. What better way to get people to sell your product for you than give them a money-back promise with each solution they sell? I can’t find any fault with that logic, it’s true. However, they do count on the fact that you simply don’t have the time to court their competition to get a few different products and/or services to resell. Besides, if you sell less, you earn less. It behooves you to resell only that product or service to the exclusion of all others.
Every week I hear about some new piece of software that someone is using which is the greatest thing since sliced bread, many times from my clients. My clients are the best resource for me in terms of what works well. Despite that, I do find that a great solution for one client won’t work for another. For example, I have some contacts who love using Open Office (an alternative to Microsoft Office), and love the fact that it’s free and they can get everything done they need to. Some of my other clients need Microsoft Word because they have add-ons for document management which simply don’t support any other office suite.
Clients have as many unique requirements for their IT as we have clients! There is no substitute for a comprehensive assessment of the client’s business processes and analysis of their current hardware and software tools. Being forced into a limited number of solutions to marginally make some extra money is a disservice to the client and runs contrary to being a trusted advisor.
Wade Stewart is the Managing Member of Stewart and Son Computer Services, LLC in University Place, WA and serves as a trusted partner to many local small and medium sized businesses.