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10 technology myths

We’d like to share with you our top 10 technology myths and how things really are, as we see it.

Myth no. 1, Myth no. 2, Myth no. 3, Myth no. 4, Myth no. 5, Myth no. 6, Myth no. 7, Myth no. 8, Myth no. 9, Myth no. 10

Myth no. 1
Buy hardware before application software

The reality
Buying system hardware before application software isn ’t necessarily the best way to go.

Best practice indicates that the application software should be identified first, and compatible hardware second.

The saying: “without quality software, hardware makes great furniture”.

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Myth no. 2
The cheapest system is the best system

The reality
More often than not, technology tends to be undersold, not oversold.

Your needs should be your driver not the cost, or you may end up with a system that meets your budget but not your requirements.

Best practice indicates that a Request for Proposal or RFP should be used.  A RFP means that a business gets to describe its operational processes, automation needs and its critical parameters - like number of staff, frequency of transactions, workstation locations, etc.

The saying: “the best plan may not be to add to an already failing system but to start with a clean slate and invest in a system that will meet your needs, today and tomorrow”.

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Myth no. 3
It’s best that the vendor manage the purchase process

The reality
While it ’s definitely best that the vendor manage the implementation, their goals and those of your business aren’t necessarily the same.

Best practice indicates that the business should manage the vendor through product demonstrations to your senior management team.

The business should direct the vendor demonstration sessions to:

  • Perform a site survey, prior to the demonstration, to ensure that they are adequately across the business’s operations
  • Demonstrate all the hardware components, application software and peripheral devices proposed
  • Put forward each option, end to end and one at a time
  • Ensure that the accreditation level of their people is adequate to address any alternate or additional requests
  • Take into account that the most successful demonstrations will need to attend follow on discussions, at which time the additional features of the products proposed may need to be revisited
  • Differentiate themselves from their competitors, but only should they be selected for a follow on session

The saying: “manage the purchase process, so that it doesn’t dictate to the business but rather meets its needs”.

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Myth no. 4
The features promised are the features delivered

The reality
Throughout the whole process, never loose sight of the system features that are critical to the operation of your business.  Absence of system functionality in a final solution is known as vaporwear – more a reference to what isn’t there than what is there.

Again, best practice indicates that a Request for Proposal or RFP should be used.  An RFP helps focus the vendor on your requirements and also ties them to a time frame.  In addition, for each software component, vendors should be describing product guarantees – for immediate delivery and that in 6 months time (on occasion, there are no guarantees).

The saying: “the product that moves off the shelf fastest is vaporwear”.

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Myth no. 5
Being an early adopter puts you ahead of the game

The reality
When it comes to new hardware and software products and solutions, there are three easy rules:

  1. Don’t be a first user
  2. Don’t be the largest user
  3. Don’t be the last user

Best practice indicates that for any new product or solution, vendors should provide a list of user reference sites.  These sites should be able to be visited and the product or solution discussed with those that have experienced implementation and use.

The saying: “in the technology race, don’t be the first cab off the ramp”.

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Myth no. 6
Proprietary systems are best

The reality
A proprietary system, one constructed on your own private parameters, protocols and peripherals, becomes increasingly expensive – to maintain and to adapt to communicate with the majority of the world’s IT environments, open systems.

Best practice indicates that if at all possible, organisations should avoid creating proprietary systems.

The saying: “a proprietary system excludes the world, while an open system includes it”.

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Myth no. 7
Owning my technology’s an asset

The reality
A technology asset appears on the business’s balance sheet as a depreciating asset.

Best practice indicates that financing some or all of your IT assets can avoid depreciating balance sheet items and help keep your technology current.

The saying: “today’s technology is old tomorrow, so try not to own too much of it”.

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Myth no. 8
A vendor is only as good as his price

The reality
Unless there’s a good reason to change, a vendor relationship should be ongoing.  A vendor who has built up knowledge of your business and its operations, over time, can mean that your business needs are better served.

Best practice indicates that a good vendor relationship can add value to your business.

The saying: “better the vendor you know, and who knows you”.

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Myth no. 9
Store whatever IT equipment you’re not using

The reality
Don’t hang onto surplus or outdated IT equipment.  By the time you get to use it again, it may not be compatible with your current systems.

Best practice indicates that charities use IT equipment too.

The saying: “it’s more environmentally friendly to give, than to dump”.

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Myth no. 10
With a little practice, everyone can be an IT expert

The reality
IT expertise is complex.  It takes IT students a number of years to achieve their accreditations, and often they then have to maintain them with an ongoing timetable of study for as long as they remain in the industry.

Best practice indicates that IT expertise is best left to the experts.

The saying: “IT experts tend to specialise - engage the specialist trained in your product suite”.

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