Jul 29, 2008 (03:07 PM EDT)
Beating Up Storage Vendors

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InformationWeek Daily - Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Editor's Note

Beating Up Storage Vendors

An analyst firm recently published a report suggesting that the No. 1 priority in reducing IT costs was to beat up your storage vendor for lower costs. I would like to give a dissenting opinion.

First, let me say that I am all for people paying a fair price for the products they purchase. That said, it has been my experience that more often than not, when a customer has received the "deal of a lifetime" from a vendor, it often left something to be desired. I don't know if it is bad karma, gremlins, or something else, but it also seems that very often something goes wrong with these systems and they never really quite work right.

There is a never-ending stream of problems, and the solution never seems to fly just right. Even if the vendor is able to pull a rabbit out of the hat, often confidence in the solution is lost and it is never trusted fully to move the solution into full production. In that case no one wins.

I think what often works is when a customer specifically looks to establish a partnership with the supplier based on trust and a fair amount of instinct. That instinct will often lead to a supplier that values that kind of relationship and is culturally able to reciprocate. The result is the customer may not have received the lowest price ever on the solution.

Typically if the customer paid more, it is not by much. The market is just too competitive now and those forces tend to keep everything within percentages of each other for similar solutions. Interestingly, these installations tend to have a much higher degree of success, and even when problems arise they are handled quickly and professionally.

Playing hardball with a vendor means that someone has to win and someone has to lose. In fact, the very term hardball when used in this context implies that someone loses badly.

I suggest another game: tic-tac-toe. This game you play to a tie, or everyone wins.

Read the rest of my blog and leave a comment here.

George Crump
georgeacrump@mac.com
www.informationweek.com

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