Last time I was a CIO was 5 years ago. Dwelling today on how I would go about prioritizing and selecting solutions I see some pretty startling changes.
My process 5 years ago would have been –
- internet search on the technologies that I thought would fit the solution
- conferences to learn about best of breed solutions and providers
- Strategic partners to review the business issues and seek their input on solutions
- colleague referrals
lastly, a new vendor and I mean as a last resort and the issue had to be a huge priority. By huge priority I either had to be afraid of losing my job and/or my executives were screaming for it to be solved.
How would I do it differently today?
While internet search would still be start as you can do that at 3am when you wake up and cannot go back to sleep worried about the problem or your job. I would head straight to my strategic partner and not as a reactive – hey get your butt in here we got talk, but with quarterly reviews of my company’s strategy, business issues and updates from them on the latest solutions.
Most importantly get from them updates on industry, the problems in the industry and solutions being implemented.
Why not conferences still? frankly, the information is overload at those things and deciphering value add from hype is not simple.
Why not colleague referrals? This is still a possibility, but I was a SMB CIO so it was not likely we were on the edge or near it from a technology standpoint.
It circles back to strategic partners. Now, this is where you have to honestly evalutate your strategic partners are they as comfortable (stuck) in the current technology as you are?
Thus, that takes us to bringing in a new vendor. I admit to hardly every talking to new vendors considering the volume contact you receive from vendors. 3-5 calls and emails a day.
However, a new vendor that I background checked online would be a high option today.
They would be –
- focused on the new technology I was considering (today cloud, hyper-converged, security, IoT, etc…)
- have case studies, blog entries, events, webinars and social media fully tied out
Does that mean your relationships with your long standing vendors is not valuable. But, only if they are both keeping you fully updated and push you. Challenge you on why you are not refreshing, replacing and worst of all not updating your strategy.
If your strategic partner is not pissing you off a couple of times a year you need to find a new one.