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A Collaborative Approach to Vetting Technology
ASCII Community   April 23, 2020

A Collaborative Approach to Vetting Technology

How do you know you’re offering the most advanced tech & what is your approach to vetting technology? Sharing information with peers could be the solution.

One problem most technology providers, service integrators, business IT directors and administrators, and really anyone that works in the technology field has is keeping up with the ever-changing technology landscape and vetting technology.

It can even be harder—or sometimes impossible—for a small integrator or providers to keep up on all the new technology and solutions available. All providers want to offer the most advanced solutions and the most cost-effective solutions for their business partners.

If we look at just the past five years, solid-state storage in SANS and NAS devices have become mainstream. Cloud solutions for just about every application and need from the large enterprise to the SMB are available. The security needs of businesses have exponentially increased. As too have the solutions to secure those businesses.

It was not long ago that if you had a firewall, antivirus and a backup solution, you were considered secure. Now, if you don’t have those and at least ten other layers of security, you are in danger of being compromised, cryptolocked or put out of business by a bad actor.

So how do we keep up and provide the most advanced, cost-effective, secure and relevant solutions to our partners?

Invest in Education
Perhaps the most obvious way is training. IT business owners could send their staff to training 52 weeks a year and still not keep up with all the new trends and technology. Unfortunately, this is not possible to do and still run a business and service our clients’ needs.

In order to keep up with vetting technology and the most advanced solutions you must continue to learn and rely on others to help you learn.

As an integrator or service provider, it’s imperative to stay connected in the industry. Join peer groups, go to conferences, attend product demos whether in person or via a WebEx and subscribe to industry magazines and news feeds.

There have been many times I have evaluated and demoed a solution to find out it does not work as promised. It was too complicated to work smoothly in our business or it was not a solution that fit the current needs of our business or that of our clients.

We freely share information we have learned from our evaluations with others in peer groups as they also share their experiences with different technologies with us.

Peer Counseling
The worst thing that happens is you spend time, money and resources evaluating a solution to then talk with five or 10 other service providers that have evaluated that same solution already.

If I had talked with the others beforehand and gotten the ins and outs of the solution, it could have saved me the same bad experience and realization that the product is just not good.

Take the vetting technology advice and feedback of your peers, for they have the same struggles and needs that you do. Use the scale and mindshare of the community to help evaluate solutions.

I have discovered many solutions that were not even on my radar by engaging with other solution providers, peer groups, and industry organizations of like-minded professionals.

Simply put, just because a solution comes from a well-known industry vendor, that does not mean it is automatically a good or a right fit for our business solution offering.

As with most solutions, after you have received feedback from other providers and looked at the industry reviews either positive or negative, you sometimes have to just roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

Install, use, break and spend some time working with a product or solution. That is the best way to know if the product or solution will work for your business, is a fit for your clients and fills a need in your solution stack.

About the Author: Todd Creek is the CEO of Dura-Tech Enterprises, Inc. He has been an ASCII Group member since 1999.

Reprinted with permission, courtesy Commercial Integrator