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MB Foster Sponsor Message


July 2003

Invest in Relationships

OpenMike is a guest editorial space and talking point for the 3000 community to express its views. In an era where emotion and analysis run abreast for the community’s attention, we want OpenMike to be a forum for the way you feel about the future and what you believe is important to the 3000 community. Send your contributions of less than 1,500 words for consideration to editor@3000newswire.com.

By Birket Foster

It’s funny how people treat relationships. You have so many different kinds, and yet we spend too little time on relationships.

First a little philosophy. Relationships are either growing or atrophying – there is no such thing as a relationship which doesn’t need work. You must consciously pay attention to a relationship to get the best from it.

It’s not just about friends and family, but also about work relationships.

Do you have a relationship with your local 7-11? Probably not, although you may be familiar with some of the staff because you frequent the store. Do you have a relationship with your computer supplier? Probably not, since your supplier has two channels, value and volume, and you probably buy through the volume channel. If you are the point person on a team that spends millions with a computer manufacturer then there may be someone who deals with you. Is it the same person this year as last? Do they really know what is going on in your company and the issues your organization is trying to solve, the projects and priorities that drive your everyday life and your life at work?

So what kind of relationship do you have with outside suppliers of your IT? How much do you know of their roadmap for their products? What kind of upgrade path do you have from products you currently own to the new generation? Do you know about the latest feature of the products you own/license? Are you paying attention?

How about your organization’s plans for the business? How will it grow to the next level? What can you do to help meet the objectives of the organization? How does the IT department help? Do the applications meet the business need? Can they evolve to keep pace? What is the relationship that your users have with IT – a love-hate relationship? What can be done to improve the understanding? I think there is room for regular review of systems by the users. By mutually discussing the systems you will get better systems.

Many systems will go through “End of Life” (EOL) from the original vendor in the next five years. How the organizations that own these systems will fare will depend on the relationships that they have with staff, and suppliers of support, transition/migration services, application software, tools/utility software and hardware.

If you are not investing in relationships and expect to be rescued by total strangers, the odds are that this dream is in Panavision with Dolby/THX sound. Oh, and remember that most vendors won’t do suicides — just rescues, and at a price. If you have not been paying for application support, or hardware and software support, and are living with minimum staff — well, the best you can hope for is that you know where you are in terms of business functions impacted, and your documentation is current and complete.

Reduce your risk and take an inventory of your relationships today – it might just be the best thing you can do to help prepare for the EOL.

Birket Foster is the founder of HP Platinum Migration partner MB Foster and chairman of the SIGSoftvend Special Interest Group.

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