This week millions of youngsters (and even a few adults) will be knocking on neighbors’ doors asking for Halloween treats. Typically proclaiming “trick or treat” when a door opens, the soliciting ghouls and goblins are optimistic they’ll receive candy and not be forced into doing something negative.
Yet, even though Halloween happens only once a year, for many small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) every day presents legitimate “trick or treat” scenarios. Just as Halloween’s roaming participants wear a myriad of disguises, the doorway to every SMB is visited regularly by apparitions who also hide behind a disguise of “sales speak” and do not always take your company’s best interests to heart.
This year, after your neighborhood’s witching season ends, take a moment to understand these scary solution sales and consulting creatures who:
- Promote Fake Clouds – Knowing the difference between fake and true clouds is critical in understanding the right solution for your growing company. Fake clouds are usually legacy on-premises solutions ported and then hosted onto a cloud platform. A true and real cloud solution is purpose built from the ground up on a robust cloud platform. This approach still requires most of the staff intensive and expensive frequent on-premises tasks of managing updates, upgrades, patches and licenses.
- Reinforce On-Premises Stagnation – Too often consultants downplay the importance of using true cloud solutions. Their business model is built around on-premises products, so it is not in their best interest to do the right thing for your SMB. In every industry, stagnation is a nothing more than an early off ramp to the graveyard.
- Highlight Multiple Vendor Solutions – A popular siren’s song sung to SMBs uses a refrain of independent best-in-class single point solutions. This plays in nicely with a fast-growing company’s desire to quickly solve problems as they arise. The tune may be catchy, but the outcome is frightening. Follow this song and your SMB will face endless nightmares of integrations, data synchronization, and armies of consultants.
- Hide Weak Vendor Metrics – The complexities of corporate finance may appear daunting, but the bottom line is simple to evaluate. If a vendor is regularly losing money and carries massive debt, their chances of long-term survival are like the lifespan of an over-ripe pumpkin carved in hot weather. Migrating to cloud solutions involves long-term commitments with vendors who will be around for the long haul.
- Promote Outsourced Platforms – Sometimes solution vendors spin their inability to deliver a complete solution by suggesting the use of third-party cloud platforms as a benefit. Don’t be fooled. Only cloud solutions designed and delivered as one bottom-to-top system from one vendor provide a true cloud experience for your employees and customers.
- Downplay the Importance of Transformative Technologies – Another trick is to downplay emerging technologies when their bag is empty. It is easy to dismiss artificial intelligence, blockchain, chatbots, machine learning and other emerging technologies when there is nothing to sell, but again don’t be fooled. These emerging technologies are real and are increasingly being used by SMBs; they are not fake initiatives. Not understanding and deploying these technologies today puts SMBs at risk.
- Discount the Need for a Vibrant and Large Vendor Ecosystems – Solution providers downplay the importance of their ecosystem – partners, consultants, customers, and global footprint – when they have little to show. Yet, SMBs are served best with broad, diverse, and far reaching ecosystems focused on their current and future aspirations. Locking into a small ecosystem limits an SMB’s opportunities and perspectives.
- Downplay or Overstate Solution Investments – Troubled vendors, especially those with debt and funding issues, hide or avoid product and platform investment discussions. Be very wary when investment appears weak. Staying current with future technologies is not inexpensive and requires large regular investments to develop, design and deploy into game-changing applications.
If there is a common theme, it can be summarized as “diverting attention from the realities of the future in exchange for status quo solutions”. Getting tricked into a foggy landscape of “it is not broken, so why fix it” doesn’t deliver any treats for an SMB. Rather, it puts an SMB at a scary risk of turning into skeletons or zombies.
While Halloween is focused on fun and games, in real life SMBs need to avoid the make-believe ghostly worlds promulgated by bewitched solution vendors who promote fake clouds, status quo constructs and other tricks sold as immediate sugar-high treats. Like the parade of costumed Halloween characters who will trick-or-treat at your house, use a keen eye to recognize the tricks presented as treats so that your SMB has a safe and successful experience with cloud solutions.