Help Sun Help You
By John Clingan-Oracle on Aug 10, 2004
I love working with customers. Over time, I learn as much from them as they learn from me. I learn their business and their business problems, they learn how Sun can be a business parter by leveraging our products, technologies and services. However, there can be challenges along the way.
There are times when I get requirements from customers which they feel are complete but I feel are incomplete. My role is to help overcome this relatively small bump in the road and get down to solving the problem. Example: A customer request comes along which has a bunch of parts on it and the they ask for a quote. Sometimes I have to come back and say, "not enough information." It is dangerous (and downright irresponsible) for me to "quote" complex configurations without understanding the bigger picture. Those of us in the field must use whatever customer skills we have to ensure that the customer understands that we don't want to be a roadblock but that we want to be a facilitator.
Here is a more detailed example, an HA (or parallel database) cluster. I can't simply send off a quote, especially when I see parts missing. Or no services. What's the business problem? Is the customer trained on our products? What are the service level requirements? Is the configuration undersized or oversized to meet SLAs? What is your backup/restore policy? Is disaster recovery a requirement? What's connecting to the database? Is the rest of the architecture also highly available? Sun cannot deliver a 5 9's solution (99.999% uptime) without understanding more about the business problem. No true partner would make assumptions in this scenario.
Our #1 goal is to deliver a high-quality supportable solution. The earlier in the design process customers involve Sun, the higher the overall quality of the solution (not to mention a faster time-to-market with greater availability). Help Sun help you.