Running a transparent business can have it’s advantages – every time one of my kids says something in a public forum I can count on dozens of opinions coming back to my inbox. It’s nice to see that we are participating and being welcomed to do it at the same time, makes me feel really good about what we are doing here.
Today a few items hit my inbox about the conversation over SaaS reliability and the expectations of cloud services vs. onsite box. The comments over it were particularly interesting because it highlights a common fear that SMB has when it comes to the cloud services. Most sensible of people turn into paranoid freaks standing with the flaming torch at their gateway interface with Braveheart face paint screaming at the network packets:
“You can have my search, but you will never take our data!”
Ok, so that makes me laugh and cringe at the same time because puts people that should be encouraging the development and use of emerging technology where it makes sense to give business scale and flexibility. Instead, some of these people are drawing a line in the sand, putting their toys behind their back and trying to use fear and paranoia as a means to discourage the giant wave of innovation that is about to crush their sandbox and wash it out.
Folks, you can’t fight this stuff. It’s coming. You need to embrace it. You cannot hide behind the giant sand walls and the blue/white face paint, head in the ground pretending like nothing new or relevant is going on out there. The world has changed. Live it. Love it. If you can’t deal with the change then you’ve picked a wrong ucking profession.
My customers would never…
SMB consultants have this emotional attachment to their client base that Microsoft propaganda seems to have only deluded them into believing it exists – trusted advisor role. At the end of the day you have a business relationship with your clients and if you aren’t comfortable with it being just that consider just how trusted you will be if you don’t have their best interest in mind when delivering this advice.
Your customers will leave you if you aren’t doing what they want.
The big blue frustration…
This is specifically where I have the most beef with Microsoft. It’s not the licensing. It’s not the broken products, pullbacks, re-re-re-releases, security nightmares. It is not even being shamed into obscurity by all counts on the marketing. It is Microsoft’s refusal, as my largest partner, to take a lead in the new changed world. Instead of powering the next generation of computing with innovative solutions Microsoft is sticking to the foundation which has been crumbling for years and they are treating these new opportunities as the proving grounds for the third world B2 rejects and weekend research projects for the midlevel managers who have lost their passion and innovative thinking a decade ago.
It’s not that we chose to go in a different direction than Microsoft because we don’t like Redmond, it’s that our clients have dictated that they don’t want Just Microsoft anymore. Clients are riding the new wave where the Mac dominates the techno-social status reflection of an executive as much as a Presidential Rolex does. It’s a world where you have an iPhone or a Blackberry and you don’t care that its not the most secure or the most flexible/integrated solution available. It’s a world in which the applications, storage, management and communications are not confined to a single box, hidden behind a single firewall or tied to a single solution provider. As one of our clients recently said: “Screw better together, look how pretty this UI is. What does Microsoft have? That Windows 3.1-themed mobile experience from 92?”
As a solution provider, it is our goal to serve our clients and provide the solutions they demand that let them run their business in the way they envision it. Face it, clients are more tech savvy now and if you think you’re facing resistance you’ve seen nothing yet. Furthermore, if you think you can fight it with “we don’t do that” excuse you don’t stand a chance.
You are NOT the father…
Taking the punchline (video for foreigners, please watch it) from Maury Povich, you are not the father of the technology toddlers that you feel make up your client base. I know that the technical superiority and the fact that you’ve been paid to provide your advice comes with the assumed responsibility to shield the client from making a horrible mistake, but please don’t take it to the extent that you feel it is your duty or even your place to preach to your clients the ten commandments of how SMB IT should be done. Not because it makes you immediately disrespectful, but because that is not how you succeed in business.
As Samantha mentioned, and as we say around here every day, it is not our duty to change our clients but to provide solutions to them that they hired us for. Call it cowardly, call it the path of least resistance, call it foolish or even trend following.. we call it our business to stay on the wave and ride it.
Do you run a technology company or a correctional facility? Nobody is asking you to change the world, just open your eyes and help those that ask for it with the details on how to navigate it to make their dreams come true.
Oh, and here is the invoice for that help…