Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

Is it too much bad, too little good, or both?

Shortly after receiving the results back from my annual physical, I was having a conversation with my doctor that led me to thinking about the strong similarities to the world of IT we all work and exist in and how many people often overlook the power of technology and what it really “should” do. It is this same overlooking that I also believe leads to decisions being made, for what people believe to be the right reason, which ultimately ends up being for the wrong one. Let me explain…

As you know, one of the key indicators that your doctor checks in a physical is your cholesterol. Is your cholesterol high, is it low, is it good? In that, most people are talking about the “Bad” cholesterol. If it is too high, it can cause damage and be a sign of potential long-term risks to your health. So most people manage against that number. The flip-side is your “Good” cholesterol. If it is too low, again, it can be a sign of potential long-term risks as well. One thing my doctor explained is, if your bad cholesterol is ok but your good cholesterol is too low, you could actually be at more risk than if your bad cholesterol were slightly elevated and your good cholesterol is fine, but most people are not aware of this. It is the ratio that really matters, not just the “bad” level. Because many people do not know this, often they act according to just the bad number, not the good, and end up at higher risk.

Now think about your IT and that of your clients… How many times have people looked at their systems, software, and infrastructure and made a decision on what to do based on how much “bad” there is vs. on how much “good” there is or should be? If something is causing them pain from a technology perspective or if something is broken, that needs to be dealt with. If it is “working,” then it is ok. But what is technology supposed to do? It is supposed to “enable” businesses to do more. It is supposed to “positively” impact their businesses and access to data and processes, etc. It is supposed to do “good” for the business, not just be there or not do “bad.” So while the IT may be working, is it doing enough “good” for the business?

For instance, your supplier calls you with a time-sensitive offer on one of your primary supplies and needs to know if you want this bulk shipment. You need information now. Stocking too much of this has high inventory costs, and possibly deteriorating materials cost if stored, but missing this price could mean a 5-10% difference in material costs? Do you need this much? What does your forecast, inventory levels, pipeline, and production schedule tell you right now? Sure, with the current system they may have access to their business data and the President of the company or the Sales Manager can get the reports they need in several hours or a day by emailing the right person with a request, but the offer is gone by then. So the technology is “working” (they CAN get the data); however, can they access the critical business data they need to make their decisions in the timeframe they need in the format they want when they want it from where they need it? Can the President of the business get that real-time data he/she needs when he/she needs it in executive summary format with the click of a button while the Sales Manager also has access to that same data, only in pipeline, forecast, and quota based report format, with the same click of a button? That’s what technology “CAN” do for a business and “SHOULD” do for a business and the potential cost of not enough “good” in the company.

So when talking with your clients and looking at their technology “needs,” have them think about what “good” technology CAN do for them, not just about is there any “bad” that needs to be fixed or are they “good enough” today, because tomorrow is just around the corner. Just some food for thought.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights

Add to Technorati Favorites

Bookmark on: MSDN , TechNet, and Expression