It’s Good Enough, Reincarnated

Google, Microsoft
3 Comments

For the past decade IT shops and IT departments have had to fight the “it’s good enough” mantra of cheap CPAs that were in charge of the company budgets. Going even smaller, “it’s good enough” brought you the world of NT4 and $4,000 DST patch, Windows 98 used in production in 2005 and beyond, etc. In the past few years as other options became available (more affordable and powerful computers, less expensive/financed licensing) customers became somewhat more strategic in their IT spending because they finally had someone that was shelling advice without per-hour pricing. We were in a renaissance, for about a year, and then Apple & Google came back and fucked it all up. If there is anything  you do, I hope you read the following article by my friend and one time SBS Show cohost Sarah Perez:

Google Sites the Next SharePoint? Maybe Not.. Why Google Apps Could Lose the Enterprise Market.

Let me give you a quick summary of the IT market in SMB over the past ten years: ’98: It’s too expensive, it keeps on crashing, fix it. ’00: It’s too expensive, it keeps on crashing, fix it. ’04: It’s getting cheaper, It seems to work. ’05: No surprise bills, eh? Ok. Sign me up. ’07: We want a Blackberry, Google Gmail and a Mac. ’08: Why are we paying for all this when we can get it for free?

Not a day passes by that I don’t talk to someone that lost a deal because their customer went the path of “It just works and its cheaper” and ended up with a Mac, no server, file server and a Blackberry. And for what its worth, you don’t meet a lot of people that hate any of the above – those that use them, love them. Sarah’s points out that users love it because they do not have to interact with the bureaucracy of the IT departments, they can just do their work.

Suddenly, good enough is back. Yes, Google retains the right to open up your files, do whatever it wants with them, offers zip in terms of SLA and no support beyond a FAQ and an email they may or may not respond to. But the premise is that you’ll never need to use those. Customer buys a Mac because its cool and because the premise is that the Mac will never crash, that it has no viruses or malware, and that the 50% – 100% premium is not that big compared to all the cost related to what you’d pay for a PC with similar applications.

So here, in 2008, we have a comeback of “it’s good enough” in that people are again comfortable not taking their IT as a strategic asset and instead focus on their core business and little else.

Microsoft seems to to agree. They are rumored to be building dozens of data centers with half a million sq ft, to build their consumer-business targeted empire of online applications…

… more on this a bit later.

3 Responses to It’s Good Enough, Reincarnated

  1. Chris Knight says:

    You said:

    > So here, in 2008, we have a comeback
    > of “it’s good enough” in that people
    > are again comfortable not taking
    > their IT as a strategic asset and
    > instead focus on their core business
    > and little else.

    Yeah, that’s what the big boys have been talking about with outsourcing and more recently the MSPs in the SMB space – “you give us a (mostly) fixed fee, we offer you a contracted service (that we may or may not be actually able to meet) so you can nearly work out per-PC annualised costs, and you can get on and focus on core business activity and leave all this IT stuff to us”.

    Besides, “it’s good enough” is back cause the technology’s got more complex and the accountants in charge don’t want to know the complexity (at least in this part of the organisation). And as your 98-08 synopsis clearly shows, there’s clearly a price sensitivity. Blackberry, Gmail and Apple all do a pretty good job of obfuscating the complexity without the high costs generally associated with the complexity. Plus, the less technically-minded people have a good chance of being able to set it up themselves.

    Looking forward to your follow-up post.

  2. Amy B says:

    It no rumor. But how are they going to sell it? Is the customer really going to undertand that an online service where they read their email and pay for it is different than an online service where they read their mail for free? Not without a lot of marketing and we know how good Microsoft is at marketing their products.

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