If technology is not an issue, what is the value of an integrator?

It was during an exploratory meeting with a new customer where we discussed his issues, that was confirmed what most of us in the business know: bad technology is rare. And by “bad technology”, he was talking about a technology that simply doesn’t work and doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. In his experience, 95% of issues with technology are rather related to configuration problems. He was referring to a real case of “bad” technology” that he had to deal with in his environment, related to hardware or firmware. More specifically, problems with a firmware component that would fail after upgrades and updates, forcing him to roll back to a prior version of firmware, thus going back to the problematic state that the update or upgrade was supposed to fix in the first place since it wasn’t doing what the technology had promised to do. That’s bad technology!

I have come to agree with his view. Some technologies may be more robust, some more performant, some offer unique features that are desirable for your IT environment at many different prices, considering levels of performance, reliability and features available but overall, you usually get the expected value versus the purchase price but rarely a technology that’s “bad”. These simply don’t last very long in the market place.

So with 95% of the issues with technology resting on misconfigurations or sub-optimized configurations, where does this leave us? This is the role of integrators. My observations are that a typical network administrator will go through major tech refreshes once every three to five years whereas it is the bread and butter and yearlong reality of network integrators that do this day in and day out. It’s hard enough to keep up with so many manufacturers selling so many features and advantages at different price points and most of it good or honest technology, never mind making sure it’s well deployed and perfectly tweaked to your environment especially if you go through this process once every three to five years with new technology. Optimized configuration work also becomes more complex as you try to integrate new technologies from new manufacturers into your environment in coexistence with technology from other vendors you already have in place. Don’t get me wrong, choosing the right technology for your environment is important but more importantly is finding people with strong deployment experience that understand your business objectives. With 95% of issues being related to configuration, this is where integrators such as ESI Technologies bring value to the table.

Charles Tremblay, Account manager, ESI