Those that know me, will be well aware that I’m no stranger to the inside of a saloon, and it was during one of these evenings that I got into a debate on Formula 1, now I don’t really follow Formula 1, and don’t usually have an opinion on it, but one of my comments on this occasion was something like “I miss the good old days when the cars were all different, and that I always wanted the 6 wheeler to win”
Now some of my Formula 1 following colleagues are a little younger than myself, and had no idea what I was talking about, but with the aid of a smartphone 30 seconds later they were all amazed.
The car of course was the Tyrrel P34
Now-a-days all cars are computer developed and optimised in wind tunnels, and not surprisingly it turns out that there is only one optimum design, which is now why all the cars look practically identical.
Sadly gone are the days of wacky ideas and cars that truly differentiated from each other.
The same can be said of IT, not all that long ago it was easy to compare vendors, mock the “wacky” ones, and promote the features that we as independent consultants felt would truly benefit our clients
But as with race cars, in the science of IT there is generally a single optimised method of doing or making something, to which most hardware vendors are now aligned, hence the influx of merchant silicon products and commoditised integrated systems.
In the “old days” I could often be found at a white board, chatting speeds and feeds with a client, and while I occasionally still get dragged into those discussions, the fact is if we’re at that point the client is really barking up the wrong tree.
So the question is: How can we help our customers truly differentiate themselves from their competition in a world of ever increasing IT commoditisation?
Well the answer, as in Formula 1, is in the “Variables”
Taking out of the equation the odd technical failure, the key to winning most F1 races is the skill and consistency of the driver.
The driver in F1 equates to the Software stack in IT, and that is where most solutions can really differentiate themselves.
Most of my discussions with clients these days start with topics like, what they consider as their key differentiators from their competition, and the pain points and barriers that they currently experiencing. And from these discussions we can translate these business requirements into technical solutions.
An example being, telling a client we can improve the de-duplication within their storage array, may not mean much, but telling them we can increase the number of tenants they can host on the same infrastructure by 20% may sound a lot more compelling.
All this is just another example of how the IT industry is changing for the “Traditional Networker” the differentiation in the hardware is becoming less and less, and increasingly in the intelligence and software that consumes it.
Fun times ahead.