What IT Taught Me About Buying a Car
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This is especially true in areas like IT – where you can quite easily have a very large knowledge divide between the provider/technical subject matter expert and the buyer/business user. In these situations, the presence of trust (or lack thereof) will determine the tone and nature of the entire engagement.
So, how do you create trust? Oddly enough, I found the perfect example in the unlikeliest of places: a car dealership.
While having lunch with fellow InFocus blogger Dave Buffo, I told him about my recent and less than favorable car shopping experience. Interestingly, his personal car buying sojourn was the complete opposite experience than mine and the differences are telling.
When Dave walked into the dealership for his purchase, he told the sales person roughly what he was looking for and that sales person pulled out a tablet. Together, vendor and consumer searched through inventory to find a match using basically the same online view that Dave saw during his own research. From there, the sales person added value by identifying certain options and some additional incentives suite to Dave’s preference on the cars they had found together.
In Dave’s case, there was complete transparency that changed the nature of the transaction and the relationship. It helped to establish a comfortable level of trust, and that trust is what allowed the salesperson to shift their role into helpful advisor, rather than the opponent/obstacle that I (begrudgingly) faced when I was car shopping.
For many people on the business side, getting IT resources is a lot like buying a car. There’s a lot you don’t understand or know and when you get inundated with technical jargon and acronyms you may just get a sneaking suspicion that there’s some whitewash involved. But, it’s not as clear cut as an “us” vs. “them,” “tech” vs. “business” issue. Savvy application owners equipped with technical chops tend to raise a suspicious eyebrow when they see the contrast between the simplicity and speed of 3rd party pay-per-drip XaaS offerings and the apparent complexity and long lead time of internal IT resources.
In the tech industry, we spend a lot of time focusing on the capabilities, automation and opportunities created by transforming to IT as a Service. But, the most important step in the journey to becoming a Trusted IT Advisor is to become, well, trusted.
For most IT departments, creating trust means taking the covers off the process and introducing transparency to the interactions between the person that needs IT resources and those that control and manage said IT resources.
Yes, usage and consumption reporting are important, but maybe even more important (at least initially) is how you package and present those IT services you offer to ensure predictability and transparent sharing of what you offer and how much it costs. And this is why the service catalog capabilities of ViPR are both so cool and so important.
As you begin to abstract your storage into pools of resources, you also have the ability to present those resources to your users in a much more simple and consistent way. You introduce visibility, predictability and self-service at the very beginning, establishing a much more solid footing for future interactions, edging you that much closer to earning trust.
I’ll admit, to folks on the IT side, catalogs and transparency may not have the technophile appeal of Cloud or Hadoop. But, if a catalog and transparency can transform buying a car into a pleasant experience, just think what that can do for your IT operations.
See how simple it is to get started with ViPR and service catalogs with these step-by-step videos from our experts.