Why independent consulting is important.

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Why independent consulting is important.

In the world of technology, we often work with companies and trusted partners who we think have our best interests at heart.  After all, we’re a customer and we’ve been working with them for some time, why would they offer us advice or services that aren’t necessarily the best fit for us?

The obvious answer is that their immediate priority is their own business and doing whats right for their business is the correct course of action.  To a degree, it is correct, however better ethics in business ultimately lead to happier customers and better customer retention.  This is something we absolutely practice at Factory Internet.

The obvious conflict arises when a vendor presents a Solutions Engineer / Solutions Architect that’ll help design your bespoke service and align the solution to your business needs.  This architect while being technically proficient is on the payroll of the company you’re buying from.  Their design choices are limited to what that company can supply and may even be altered by commercial constraints (perhaps a better kick-back for selling more of a particular vendors equipment, or using an older platform/service that already exists – i.e. assets sweating while charging you full price).  For minor systems, this can work and is generally not completely terrible.  It can however be more costly when entire service-stacks are built this way.  Imagine you work with a Cloud Partner who has an allegiance to AWS, every single problem will be fixed with an AWS hammer – regardless of whether or not that’s the best tool for your use-case.  Taking a different view, it might be that the hammer of choice is Public Cloud rather than anything else, it might be that it’s Private Cloud rather than anything else.  While technology is massively important – we can’t do any of this stuff without it – it should be separated from the thought process.  The initial view should be focusing on what problem is being solved, then working to understand the best/most cost effective ways to solve said problem.  If you eliminate 75% of the options on the table before you’ve even looked at understanding the problem, your behind before you’ve even started.

The process we often step through is the equivalent of walking into McDonalds and asking if you should have a BigMac or a BurgerKing Burger?  The answer will always be a BigMac because that’s what they sell.

These companies have a different allegiance, they’re never truly aligned to their customer.  Rather, they’re aligned to the vendor paying the best bonus on number of accounts signed, or worse; pitching products because the vendor has told them too – i.e. they’ve became an extension of the vendor – loosing the veil of independence.  Sure, you can choose to take/not take the product, but you’re never sure if they’re offering you a sub-par product whilst hiding something better from sight.

Enter the Independent Consulting Company.  Their perspective is entirely objective, based on experience of multiple vendors and looking at your use case and scenario objectively.  That scenario puts the customer at the centre of what you do, not a particular set of vendors who are one step removed from your customers direct interests.

At Factory Internet, we start by asking questions centric to your business and business goals.  We’ll look at things like how technically mature your team is, how can they support something we implement?  Do you want that team to support that or would you like another third party to do that?  What technologies/vendors is your business already aligned to and what ones work for you already?  Can we do this with off the shelf services/software rather than re-building the wheel?

We’ve seen a number of high-tech consultancies push in complex configuration management tools rather than easier to use tools – not because the more complex tool does something better for the customer – but because it makes the customer more dependent on the consultancy.

Our approach has always – and will always be – ethics based consulting.  We do the right thing by our customers.  What does that mean?  If we had to stand in a room with other independent technology professionals, could we explain what we’ve done and stand by our guidance knowing it was the right thing to do?  If we cannot do that, we’re not doing it right.

If you have anything in flight that you’re working on and have a niggling view that it might not be quite right, feel free to give us a shout.  We do free consultations to demonstrate the value we can offer your organisation, we’ll always be impartial and independent.

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