George Bernard Shaw once said, “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” This statement applies just as well to our industry – ideally, the vendor should meet the customer’s needs at that time; the customer shouldn’t have to conform to the vendor’s model or packages.
In general terms, a customer will make a buying decision when the value of a product or service exceeds its cost. In Mr. Shaw’s case, the value of that custom suit exceeds the cost. He needs a suit, he wants to look good, and he’s willing to pay the price for that custom suit. Presumably, that custom-fitted, tailored suit would cost more than an off-the-shelf suit from any clothing store.
Though Mr. Shaw is willing to pay that additional cost, not everyone is so willing. But what if the custom suit is the same price as the off-the-shelf option? Wouldn’t everyone buy the custom suit? One would think so – a custom suit has a higher value to the customer. It just makes sense.
The same is true for technology. IT, with its infrastructure, resources, policies and procedures, is generally no longer thought of as a cost; rather, IT is an investment in the business – it enables the business to do what it does. And therefore, it has value.
Companies are increasingly recognizing the growing value of adopting cloud technologies, including outsourcing to cloud providers. And when they do so, they have choices to make, one of which is the choice of vendor. Many vendors have standardized, specific IT “supplies” or configurations. The customer must choose between a limited set of offerings. This is analogous to the off-the-shelf suit.
Other vendors, like Hostway Corporation, offer custom IT solutions where the customer has a wide range of options – virtually unlimited – in terms of solutions and configurations. This means that Hostway is able – and willing – to custom-design and support the solution that best fits the needs of the customer, doing what is in the customer’s best interest.
While all businesses have certain similarities, each business tries to differentiate itself from its competition, and thus each business is unique. And their IT needs are correspondingly unique.
Just like the suit analogy, a custom IT solution has more value than an off-the-shelf solution. So if the costs are similar, the choice is obvious.
At least, I believe that Mr. Shaw would see it that way.