(version 2: minor edits from Director of Copying from Source)
EXT. AIRPORT – HOUR BEFORE DAWN
FADE IN to a crisp cold frost-bitten morning, cruising over
planes sitting at gates while workers prepare them for takeoff
TILT UP over the airport and FLY IN to a busy, gridlocked highway
seemingly all headed toward the airport for a daily commute
As we pass by cars OVERHEAD, we see various people in different
moods and state of dress including a gentleman using an electric
shaver and a lady spilling coffee in her lap while work multi-tasking
FOCUS is changed to a single cheap black domestic car with a blurry
eyed passenger, half asleep but staring intently out the window
with both hands on the wheel
The car pulls up to the long term parking entrance and pauses,
the owner sighs, and pushes the button to obtain the receipt.
The owner drives endlessly around the parkade looking for a
spot finally reaching the 12th floor, outside, back row
INT. VEHICLE - DAWN
The car is a mess, with an obviously disheveled owner. Too
many days on the road, too much time in the car as can be
counted by the empty coffee cups scattered in the passenger
seat and floor.
Behind the driver is a result of a tornado of children complaining
of long drives. Car seats, fast food containers, fast food container
miniature toys, and bits of fast food are spread across the floor
and seats. Underneath the mess is more mess. Under that mess,
still more mess.
The driver is a little rough around the edges, youthful but
grey-haired around the temples. Sipping his coffee, he mentally
prepares for his next trip that includes the next 90 minutes of
security and border interviewing
He glances at the time…
HERO (inside voice)
I still have 14 minutes. Good. Maybe I can
rest my eyes for just a couple minutes.
Silence is broken by loud car alarm
HERO (inside voice)
The HERO unlocks his phone, answer’s two messages and
takes another glance at the time.
HERO (inside voice)
Another vendor meeting today. I have to fly 1000
kilometers to hear the same thing..
HERO (with a mocking tone for a vendor)
We know that you have a goal to have world class operations
and your biggest concerns are cost savings, a need to move to
an OPEX financial model, 5 9’s availability, and technology to
address Big Data and Cloud. And we can certainly help you
achieve those objectives.
HERO (inside voice, with obvious disdain)
As expected, I get to nod and blindly agree as they show me slide
after slide of product features and benefits suited to saving me
money as compared to their competition. Oh joy. I can’t wait!
Another car pulls in beside the HERO. A family of 6 including 2 parents and 4 children
under the age of 6. I think we get the picture, and it’s going to get ugly, soon.
HERO (out loud with animated hand waving)
I can’t do it this time! I have to tell them the truth!
The children start crying, and the HERO mimes an apology to the angry parents.
HERO (inside voice, with obvious ranting tone)
No…I have to get them to understand that most of what
they think matters to me, in fact, doesn't. For the most part the
vendors perception are end results, not the strategy behind the
Take cost savings and OPEX financials as an example. I
wonder if they realize that most of the IT budget is
allocated to GROWTH initiatives for my business not
maintenance. 80% of my projects exist to add features,
products and programs to existing or new businesses.
Think “transform and grow” versus “run”.
While there is an expectation for consistent
and stable cost management, and an occasional
expectation of cost reduction, the IT team will be judged
on new value its contributing far more often than dollars
saved per year. OPEX spending actually requires more approval
and internal decision making than CAPEX. OPEX requires
new, incremental and re-occurring spending for a budget that
generally needs to be consistent and stable quarter over
For me to spend more money in OPEX, I need to
save OPEX money to net even WITHIN they operating year.
WHAT I REALLY NEED FROM THE VENDOR is to understand
how and where I spend money before predicting what models
would be most appropriate for me. I want the vendor to
work with my team to CREATE NEW VALUE far more than
focusing on saving money and work with me to build
innovative financial BUSINESS CASES presentable to the
executive committee to show that value.
I laugh when I hear the need to achieve 5 or 6 9’s availability.
My business does not launch rockets or land planes. The equipment
I sell does not saves lives or prevent disease. And most importantly
the software than I build internally, BARELY achieves 98% availability.
So if the application doesn't even register 2 9’s, I have no expectation
that the infrastructure should be ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more
available. In fact, my preference is that the VENDOR builds systems
that ASSUME failure and appropriately recovers versus architecting
solutions that ASSUME the availability requirement is near 100% up-time.
WHAT I REALLY NEED FROM A VENDOR is to understand my business
MUCH MORE than just what is on my website. I need them to
appreciate the services I provide to my clients, how I earn money
versus how I spend money, what my clients and business partners
expect from the quality and consistency of the services I provide,
and what external factors affect my business decisions. Only then
will they appreciate how important availability, among other
nonfunctional requirements, is to my business.
And lastly my objective to deliver Big Data and Cloud solutions to the
company. You might as well add SOA, Mobile, 3D printing, Converged,
Augmented Virtual Reality and Gamification. Mega trends are always
context dependent and magic bullets are a myth to solve business issues.
Viable solutions have and always will need commitment discipline, hard
work and skill.
Here is a secret most clients won’t tell you: We generally know about
trending technology even if we don’t understand the details enough to
present the concept to an audience, especially to those companies
who are likely more knowledgeable on the subject. We generally know
WHAT the trends are, and WHY they may or may not apply to our
businesses. What we really don’t know is HOW TO JUSTIFY AND ATTRIBUTE
these technologies in an overall technology strategy that INCLUDES
the interaction and integration with a very long tail of existing solutions.
WHAT I REALLY NEED FROM A VENDOR is help solidifying my technology
strategies based firstly on how my business intends to change in the future,
and secondly how the change in technology over time should apply to
my business evolution or revolution. I also need the vendor to FULLY
UNDERSTAND the interaction complexity of new technology. While its
relevant to have the skillset needed to create a Mobile platform, I need
the vendor to provide experience and case studies so I can plan the impact
of hordes of new data created from the platform, and what elasticity is
needed from the infrastructure to provide for a much less predictable
usage pattern from my client base.
WHAT I REALLY WANT THE FIRST SLIDE OF A VENDOR PRESENTATION to say
is this: We want to help, but we need to know a lot more.
We are going to spend the first 4 hours understanding your business,
understanding your IT program delivery and spending requirements, and
your perspective on trending technologies and how they apply to your strategy.
The following 4 hours will be providing our experience in the industry and our
engineering expertise to help you to flush out your strategies, build justification
and context around your technology decision making, and help provide a
provable business case to show the real value you can and will provide to
your organization. Our goal is to make you look good.
That would certainly be worth the trip.
He glances at the time…
HERO (in a loud voice)
Uh oh. Late as usual.
The HERO quickly escapes the car, retrieves his bags from the trunk,
and as usual forgets to lock the car.
EXT. AIRPORT PARKING – DAWN
Snow is settling on the pathway, covering up the ice the staff forgot to
salt. The future holds many falls from people in expensive suits.
We CRANE UP as the HERO walks toward the parkade elevator, tripping
over his coat belt in the process. Swearing, he pushes the button down.