IT pros can cut through the cluttered IT landscape by adopting sales skills.
The IT industry is continuing on its apropos trajectory toward a landscape that is constantly transformed by today’s ever-evolving, disruptive applications. And along with the applications, there are a lot of buzz-worthy terms that get thrown around, like digital transformation, the consumerization of IT, the Internet of Things, the Internet of Everything, containers, clouds, microservices and serverless, to name a few. Moreover, just about every company wants to become the Uber of its industry.
But what do all these terms and business goals mean for the IT professional?
The challenge starts with the gluttony of choices for IT services. In IT, there are always a multitude of ways to complete a task or solve any given problem. Now, multiply that by the countless services that vendors are productizing across on-premises, off-premises and -as-a-service and it’s becoming an endless sea of solutions decision-making.
This can lead an IT organization into technology debt as well as vendor lock-in. Modern IT professionals and their organizations are in a continuous loop of optimizing for every solution with data from multiple streams, which often translates into optimizing for nothing at all.
Furthermore, the variety of IT services have led to many different labels, terms, and semantics for constructs that are essentially the same thing, but are cloaked in vendor-ese. For instance, AWS EC2 instances are equivalent constructs to VMware vSphere virtual machines (VMs) or Azure VMs, just as AWS S3 storage is comparable to Azure Blob Storage.
The nomenclature confusion can strain time and resources as IT professionals must subsequently understand not only the fundamental construct, but the subtle differences in constructs as well. As such, applied use cases and normalization become key to successfully navigating the correct path towards choosing the right solution for any given situation. Unfortunately, the differences in terminology often translate to wasted cycles spent on something other than finding the right solution.
What can an IT professional do to cut through the solutions glut, find the right path for their organization, and ultimately advance their IT career? Surprisingly, the answer may be to become a master of sales.
It may seem oxymoronic to lump IT and sales together, but to cut through the services clutter, IT professionals need to adopt skills that top sales professionals leverage so they can influence the people, process and technology decision-making process within their own organizations.
How does this help the IT professional decide on a solution? In the simplest terms, sales best practices force an IT professional to have ready answers to questions like, “What is the problem that needs to be solved?” instead of focusing on speeds and feeds or the latest wunderkind technology. This focus on solutions enables an IT professional to cut through marketing hype and pick the right solution for the specific needs in their data center environment versus being sold on the promise of something that might ultimately cost them their job.
Kong Yang is a Head Geek and senior technical product marketing manager at SolarWinds, an IT management vendor based in Austin, Texas. With over 20 years of IT experience, he is passionate about the entire IT ecosystem, but with a particular focus on virtualization and cloud ... View Full Bio
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