The cloud file-sharing service Dropbox is immensely popular among consumer and enterprise users – and not because it’s free.
Despite its insecurities, Dropbox is a favorite among 200 million users because it does what it advertises, and it does it well. It’s simple, drag-and-drop functionality makes moving files between users and devices a snap. And, in some regards, it provides data protection against loss and corruption.
Dropbox isn’t the system most enterprises would typically choose. It doesn’t have the management features, account administration controls, reporting mechanisms or security most enterprises desire. It doesn’t have “feature creep” (the continual addition of features and functions), and it doesn’t need them.
Now, I’m not advocating Dropbox as an enterprise solution. But it is a good example of how simple, straightforward IT products and services often have more enterprise value because they do what they’re designed to do with ease.
Enterprise expectations are changing for what technology is supposed to deliver. Notions that IT is about automation and cost savings are evaporating in the heat of need for growth in productivity, revenue and profits.
In other words, enterprises want technology that results in better outcomes.
IT decision-makers are fatigued by the features wars – the escalation of new functions, interface improvements and reporting mechanisms that may improve the look and feel of an application/system, but do little to effectuate net-gain outcomes.
For years, the technology industry has used the features wars to entice customers into upgrading applications and migrating to new platforms. The process worked: Incremental improvements were enough to justify spending. However, enterprises have caught on that these feature wars mean they’re paying for features they rarely or never use.
Instead of new features, enterprises want applications and systems that produce better results, regardless of the underlying interface or discrete feature options. We see this today in backup and data protection systems. The market is flooded with cloud, hybrid and on-premises products differentiated by interface features rather than those that solve real problems, such as recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives.
Think about backup for a moment. Cool reporting functions and a slick user interface are good, but they aren’t the same as having assurances that RTO and RPO are absolutely achievable. After all, data integrity and availability are paramount to normal business operations and continuity.
The same thing can be said in virtualization. With nearly 60 percent of the server install base virtualized, we’re fast approaching the point where the benefits of this technology are shifting from machine consolidation to operational performance. To the enterprise, performance and outcome are about how well a virtualized environment is backed up, is replicated and fails over. However, many of the tools available in market promote add-ons that don’t always have definable value.
As Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” believes outcomes still matter. Rather than focusing on what goes into the technology, vendors and solution providers should help their customers achieve higher levels of performance and results. Or, as he succinctly says, “We must always start with the end in mind.”
Making things simple and valuable isn’t easy – but making things easier, allowing for technical agility based on business objectives, increasing value and reducing operational costs are more valuable to an enterprise than a new blinking light or colorful dashboard.
Too often, we get caught up in the features rather than the goal. When the dust settles on the current or next hype cycle, we all need to be mindful that we serve one purpose: organizational outcomes.
– Reprinted with permission of The 2112 Group –