As many of you may know, the UK is my adopted home and not the place of my birth. I spent the formative years of my life in the United States and, during that time, picked up both some good and, frankly, bad habits. It took me a while to recognise that there are an abundance of words which should be spelt with an s and not a z …that z is pronounced ‘zed’ …that colour is indeed meant to be spelt with a ‘u’ …that a fortnight is fourteen days …that there is a difference between while and whilst …I could go on and on, but I won’t. One of the most dramatic changes I have noticed in the ten plus years I have lived in my new homeland [beside the flattening of my accent!] has been the clothes I wear. Now, I know that I still sometimes dress like a technoweenie [stop laughing Terry] but if you had seen me when I first moved to Ireland you would wonder as I often have just what Mrs. PL saw in me before we got married. Yes, dear reader, I thought there was nothing wrong with a dark blue shirt, green tie, tan trousers, and tan tartan checked sports jacket. Worn together. And we needn’t discuss the fact that my trousers were shortened in that grand American style which would leave you wondering where the flood was that I was expecting.
What does this have to do with data storage and protection?
The Computacenter Sharpen Your Business initiative is certainly about how we can demonstrably save a customer money across the length and breadth of their organisation. However, if we look deeper one could also argue that the Sharpen Your Business initiative also addresses a common flaw in the development of technology solutions …often, in my expereience, technology solutions can be patchy when it comes to customers …we’re virtualising their environment, but perhaps we haven’t asked how they will store or backup the data. We have a great reputation for providing desktop support, but perhaps the customer has no idea of the other great service and solution offerings we have which could help them realign their internal resources away from simply managing ‘stuff’ and back to helping their business innovate and stay competitive in a difficult market. And this got me thinking. IBM refer to this as ‘clothing’…we sold them the socks but forgot to ask him about the suit. Now that Mrs. PL dresses me properly [I do have my off days when she isn’t around … let’s not talk about the pink socks] I can more fully appreciate just what it means to be ‘the finished article’ and the importance of wearing colours that are not only found in nature …but are meant to be worn together. It gives a much bigger impact to others, and with neuroscientists telling us that most humans make a decision within three minutes of meeting someone new as to whether they will work with and trust them I need all the help I can get and can’t allow my clothing to be a barrier.
Our customers are faced with a similar problem. Virtualising their ‘stuff’ is valuable and has ROI and demonstrable long term cost benefit …but won’t help them achieve true end to end cost benefit which translates into their ability to be more competitive. Neither does storage tiering. Nor data ‘dedupe’. No, these are all point solutions that, left in isolation, will only yield limited benefit. Tie them all together, mix in a bit of enterprise content management …file virtualisation …virtualised backup …consolidated maintenance contracts …automated storage and server provisioning …now we’re talking! Imagine taking twenty internal IT personnel who understand your business intimately and redeploying them to business units to help your business stay competitive in a declining market …would you talk to a service and solutions provider who could help you do that? Yeah, me too.
So when you get dressed on Monday, remember …we need to buy the whole suit, not just the socks.