When Network Computing covers technology priced beyond the reach of many of our readers' checkbooks, I find myself defending, in e-mail and in conversation, our decision to do so. After all, having a senior staff member like Bruce spend four months evaluating hugely complex technologies that might interest only a small percentage of our readership could be viewed as a waste of resources, especially since there is so much damn technology to look at.
I broached this subject in my Feb. 4, 2002 column, where I argued there is value to all readers when we cover high-priced, complex technology solutions. I'm not going to restate all the reasons why I think it makes sense to evaluate these solutions, but I do want to show that we strive for and deliver great balance in our coverage--balance in the types of technologies we examine and in their costs.
Case in point is Bruce's July 22, 2002 article on network toolbox suites--you know, the one you're still planning to read when you get a free moment. It's a great piece focused on solutions that cost no more than $2,995: about one-tenth the total cost of the lowest priced MoM we tested. Any reader should be able to justify the cost of one of these tools. I admit that network toolbox suites and MoMs are different solutions to different problems, but that again is the level of balance we aim for.
When I read any article in which cost is a concern, I try to guesstimate what the real price of the product would be; I factor in the costs of training, maintenance, implementation time and other considerations. Necessities such as these can make even a $3,000 purchase seem like a waste of money. Flip to page 54, and see how Bruce lays out two pricing scenarios for MoMs that take many of the tertiary costs into account.
This type of in-depth look at pricing is great because it leads readers to think about the amount of time and work involved in rolling out a solution. And setting expectations around a rollout is critical before you make a purchase because you know your boss will be on your case to deliver a solution once a PO is signed, especially one for a couple hundred grand.