A Meeting room. Discussing the possible options for product and vendor strategy. Company urgently needs to avoid capital expenditure and reduce maintenance costs.
The engineer across the table is wearing a vendor t-shirt, a few years old and looks a bit tatty. The table and chairs are tired and a bit worn. I took a look around the car park on arrival and noted that it is mostly practical cars and suggests that most people who work here live modest lives.
The manager asks “Is it necessary to buy this top of this line network equipment?”
“Not really” I say “There is, of course, value in that option since the equipment has many more features and would require less intervention in the years ahead”.
I’m thinking of the ‘data centre’ with mis-matched racks, self-assembled cables, rows of older servers and arrays that are being stretched. Not mention the water stains on the wall, apparently from a leak in the plumbing several floors above some years ago.
The engineer gets angry “But we must get this equipment. We don’t know what our requirements are, there is growth planned, and we need to have the best network system with complete redundancy.”
I say “I agree that this product is better but price is high. You can always buy more equipment when the company grows. There is some risk in the upgrade plan but a significant amount of money can be saved today”.
Manager nods his head.
The Engineer “I know this equipment and I trust this vendor to deliver on their promises. And their product support is excellent”
I say to Engineer “Look, what sort of car do you drive?”
He looks puzzled and talks about a 5 year old, second hand car. Nice car.
I look at him carefully “So why don’t you own a BMW or a Mercedes ? Most people think they are a better car than the one you have. Or why not a Ferrari or a Lotus ? ”
He snorts “Because I can’t afford one. Between the mortgage and the family we don’t have much left over”
“But isn’t the car really important to you ? You need a car to get food, kids to school and to get to work to earn money. So why don’t you have the most reliable car that is available?” I ask.
The Engineer doesn’t get it. The Manager does.
They went with the cheaper option. It’s good enough for what they need.