After writing a couple of recent blogs I started thinking about opportunity creation. I awoke this morning at 4:15 AM with the thought that successful opportunity creation lies in the ability to create a compelling event. The best sales people I have worked with have an incredible and uncanny ability to create these events. I believe that while customers are excited by strategy and vision ultimately purchasing patterns are tactical in nature. Broad compelling events are often created created by industry requirements such as regulatory compliance requirements (i.e. – Sarbanes-Oxley, 17a-4, HIPAA, etc..). Technology innovators typically create compelling events in the form of game changing technology (i.e. – data de-duplication, content addressable storage, continuous data protections, etc…) these technologies typically address a broader industry compelling event and they aim to provide a unique technological solution to a broader problem. Lastly individuals have the ability to create a compelling events, orchestration and articulation of a solution that encompasses the problem, the technological solutions and the business process and benefit.
This idea popped into my head after reading through a one of my previous blog posts in which I spoke about VMware and partition offsets. I was prompted following a link back to the original blog from the VMTN (VMware Technology Network) and comments such such as the following on the VMTN:
“Umm… let’s just say you need to do a better job educating. No idea what any of this means, and I’ve installed dozens of ESX farms.”
“…nobody has kept track of real geometries on drives for 10 or 15 years”
These are frightening comments. Think of all the ESX users experiencing sub-optimal performance based on the fact that I believe this represents the rule rather than the exception.
Hence this got me to thinking about the term “Trusted Advisor” once again. It is obvious that “Trusted Advisors” across the world are chasing the ubiquitous technology opportunities such as Microsoft, Cisco IP networking, etc… To me these advisors are analogous to the doctor you goto when you need some penicillin – you know your sick, you just can’t write the script so you goto a doctor and pay the $5 co-pay for a broad spectrum antibiotic. At one point the diagnosis and treatment of influenza was a specialty but this train has left the station. These advisors deal in volume and while they may harbor discrete expertise unfortunately not only are the problems ubiquitous but the solution and the expert knowledge is as well. On the other hand there is the doctor who sees 10 patients a year who deals in a specialized field that seems to be outside the grasp of the masses, he is expensive but worth the money to those who capable of affording him or her. BTW – Nothing precludes the specialist from playing in the volume business if he or she so chooses, it begs the question of why they don’t?
With this all said, value is measured by ones ability to comprehend and quickly cross-reference symptomatic information with expert knowledge in an area where others are incapable of comprehending the complexity. If anyone watches the TV show “House“, this is the advisor I am describing. Back to my example of VMware and partition offsets, VMware two years ago was perceived as a fairly complex, the certification pass rates were far lower than they are today. VMware made a conscious effort to remove the need for command line expertise realizing that most users were coming from the Windows world and that pervasive adoption would require simplicity, today 99% of the operational management of VMware happens from the Virtual Center console. Most users are unaware or just don’t care that the CLI is far more efficient, simplicity has become a primary feature. It is no wonder that most users disregard aligning partition offsets, after all this would require the command line.
You didn’t close the loop and left us hanging! I’m confused — what is the compelling event — the de-emphasis of the CLI in the GUI-driven VirtualCenter? And what is the created opportunity — the chance to be a trusted storage advisor for VMware Infrastructure sites?
(So if I got that right, I agree that there are plenty of opportunities to shoot yourself in the foot, er, data center, and as a result there’s a lot of opportunity out there. VMware does Jumpstarts and Health Checks for precisely that reason. Improperly tuned VI does nobody any good.)
John good to hear from you – the loop was intentionally left open. I think while there are a trillions of compelling events most organizations have more than one – The ability to identify, comprehend and apply technology as a solution to these compelling events separates technology for technology sake from technology for business sake. The ability to create this perfect storm lies in the hands of the technological maestro – the select few who can make technology dance.
Next you made my skin crawl with the use of “Trusted Advisor”, no but really yes, while I think that health checks are great it is not practical to think that most customer can fix partition alignment after the fact. As business people we all realize that the SMB is the largest untapped market, as technologist we are trying to build technologies that are customer installable and maintainable, all to often the facade of simplicity (e.g. the GUI) provides a false sense of expertness.
Anyway I don’t have the all the answers and this post could go on and on, so for now I bid farewell and I welcome any and all perspectives.