We’ve taken over clients recently that had complicated, elaborate infrastructures with pie in the sky dreams of having the latest, coolest technology in place. All the client wanted was a stable infrastructure with the office suite on every computer and Accpac on the accounting PC’s. When the project got into trouble, the previous IT provider asked for more money and brought in more resources and another layer of software to fix what should have been basic functionality: allowing users to print.

In no way am I condemning the poor client. They were led astray by an IT provider that wanted to play with cool stuff rather than giving the customer what they need. Could there have been some benefits to the customer with this new technology? Yes, of course, however we’re talking an additional 5-10% functionality for twice the cost to implement.

How do you know if you are being led into dangerous territory? Well, you will probably have a good sense that something isn’t right, or that something sounds overly complicated. Just because your IT provider is using the latest buzzword, doesn’t mean that it’s ready for an environment under 5000 employees. Many new technologies are still having their kinks worked out at an enterprise level. Am I saying that there aren’t benefits to things like ‘cloud’ products? Absolutely not, however there are mature cloud products (like hosted email, hosted websites and hosted backup solutions) and there are products that are costly and still need work (like Desktop as a Service with thin-clients).

If you feel something isn’t right, it’s okay to talk with your the IT provider about that, or maybe bring in someone for a second opinion. It very well might save you a lot of money and a lot of pain. If you don’t trust your IT provider to give you the straight answer, well, that’s a whole other conversation.

- Karl Fulljames, VP of Operations, Nucleus

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