For decades the IT Industry as a whole has been dominated by giant multinational corporations who, for the most part, are hell-bent on being one-throat-to-choke for the Global 2000. What does this mean for small & medium enterprises, or SMEs? It means that the Big Guys, as I collectively call them, have less and less relevance in the SME world, particularly as it relates to my sweet spot, the storage and backup sector. Herewith are three inconvenient truths about the Big Guys in the SME market.
In the last three years, if you bought a storage and/or backup solution from one of the Big Guys:
- You didn’t get a better product.
- You didn’t get a better price.
- You didn’t get a better customer experience.
What you did get, in exchange for all this, is a modicum of security that your vendor will still be around when you wake up tomorrow. But how much is this really worth, especially in the modern era that I call the Great Leveling of The Playing Field (see below), where new best-of-breed storage and backup vendors are launching and attaining legitimacy in the marketplace at astounding rates? Due to the Great Leveling, it simply no longer makes sense for SMEs to do business with the Big Guys.
The Opposition Responds
Oh the Big Guys will protest mightily, believe me. They’ll trot out all kinds of slideware and other marketing drivel about “converged infrastructure” and the benefits of dealing with a single vendor. If you are currently tied to one of the Big Guys, ask yourself a couple of questions:
How many applications am I required to use in order to manage this supposedly “converged infrastructure”?
How many platoons of vendor people am I required to deal with in order to keep this “converged infrastructure” running?
See my point? If you are already running separate applications to manage servers, virtualization, network, storage and backup, why the hell is it acceptable to buy mediocre solutions at high prices from a vendor who treats you like a number on a spreadsheet?
The Great Leveling of the Playing Field
The IT industry is finally reaping the benefits of the mantra that it has been repeating to business customers for decades: technology levels the playing field. Nowhere is this more evident than in the storage and backup sectors. Capitalizing on fundamental advances in technologies such as Flash memory and multi-core processing, well-funded new vendors have rapidly emerged from start-up phase and begun tearing large chunks of market share away from the Big Guys.
In upending the three inconvenient truths about the Big Guys, these emergent fast-growth companies:
1. Offer a MUCH better product.
2. Offer a MUCH better price.
3. Offer a MUCH better customer experience.
For SMEs this is cause to celebrate. These advances in storage and backup are enabling the entire IT infrastructure to become faster, less expensive to operate, and MUCH simpler to use.