Pull Back the Curtain


You remember that moment in the classic movie The Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain on the blustery man behind “the great and powerful Oz”? The moment when you think, really, he’s not so scary after all? Like the Wizard, too often IT companies fuel, rather than dispel, potential clients’ ignorance and fear. Why? To increase their importance and power, of course.

Lack of Transparency: The most recent example I saw was an IT Director telling me that his current IT support firm could not share their technology management tools with him. There was some mysterious software licensing restriction and they were not allowed to give the client access to the useful information. I called B.S. — it turns out that one of their tools is the same one that Waident uses. Not only do we routinely share the tool with clients, but the manufacturer in fact recommends this kind of sharing.

If that’s best practice, why in the world wouldn’t that IT support firm deploy the tool to the client user? My gut tells me that there are two selfish reasons. First, they would need to redo the security since there is currently none in place (i.e., all of their tech guys have access to everything – not a good thing). Second, sharing the tool would allow the client to hold them accountable for everything they do since they can see it all. Waident recommends that our clients’ IT employees have access to our tools. This kind of transparency empowers the clients to hold us accountable.

Expertise Creep: Here’s another example. Beware the vendor that claims a broad range of expertise – just because they’ve done it once, it becomes a bullet point in a laundry list of capabilities on their website. They may SAY they’re experts, but it doesn’t mean they are. Often this projection of phantom expertise is driven by an attitude of “I’ll do anything for a buck.” My experience is that somebody who claims to be good at everything is great at nothing.

Be willing to ask your vendor how often they have done something, when they last did it, and how many people have the expertise. Ask for references of happy clients. If you get bluster, re-direction or silence, you have your answer.

Pull Back the Curtain: Does your tech team have an approach that focuses on education, transparency and accountability? Or do they work to keep you ignorant and fearful of asking questions? Do you feel that your team is honest about their capabilities and willing to direct you to outside experts if necessary? Or are you feeling gamed and played?

Be willing to get a second opinion. It’s free. Call or email me for some no-B.S. advice on any issue you’re facing or a technology decision you’re making. Get past the sleight of hand and bluster. Get the information you need to make the best decision for your company.


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John Ahlberg
CEO, Waident

CIO in the corporate world and now for Waident clients. John injects order and technology into business process to keep employees productive, enterprises running, and data safe.

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