Everyone has an agenda. Understanding this fact is a necessary part of receiving advice for a variety of business decisions. When it comes to technology, it’s usually common to get the opinion of others that possess product, installation, and maintenance experience. That said, be aware of the potential bias that each party is likely to have, which is an important part of this process. Technology vendors, consultants, in-house staff, and even third-party research organizations can produce relevant information that is vital to making a sound technology decision. The challenge, however, is determining what should be regarded as fact and what should be taken with a grain of salt. Let’s look at each relevant decision-making group and help to define what information should be trusted when making complex technological decisions for your organization.
The people who want to sell you technology are often considered to be the ones to trust the least. After all, it’s their sole responsibility. However, when it comes to specific knowledge of a product or service, there is no better source of truth. In my experience, speaking to your assigned sales engineer along with a product specialist is the best way to understand what a solution can or cannot do. While a sales engineer may insist that a feature or deployment-specific option is possible today, the product specialist will be able to verify that the product/service can indeed do what you want it to do.
Like technology vendors, external consultants’ opinion comparing one product over another should be treated with suspicion as they often benefit from you purchasing a product or service that makes them the most money. That said, consultants provide a wealth of implementation and integration experience from which to help base your decision on. Additionally, understand that if the consulting company is on the hook for the technology integration, they are the ones that should be most trusted in terms of what they are capable of accomplishing -- and what cannot be delivered despite vendor claims.
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