Shopping for IT Like You Are Big & Tall

Some stories just stay with you over the years. Like the one when my brother, who is somewhere between 6’3″ and 6’4″, told me he went to buy a suit in a Big & Tall store and they told him he wasn’t “big & tall” enough.

I have been thinking about this as it relates to our customers. Many are really small-medium size businesses (SMB = 10-500 employees) who traffic in very high dollar volumes and sophisticated securities instruments either as an broker-dealer or investment manager.

It is true that they often compete with the big boys and many of their employees have worked at bulge bracket firms but in reality they are truly SMB.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with thinking like a big guy, but if you aren’t one and you decide to shop at the Big & Tall shop you may not be getting the best fit.

What are the implications for firms like these across the continuum of evaluating, sourcing, deploying and supporting hardware, software and applications  that are critical to the mission of their business?

SMB lack the depth and breadth of resources that larger firms possess. This can affect their ability to stay abreast of the latest innovations and trends in the vendor ecosystem and can lead to knee-jerk, least path of resistance buying decisions. This might mean they:

  • Make the “going with what I know choice” by going with the next generation solution from their current vendor
  • Make the “default choice” by opting to go with what the big guys use
  • Make the “safe choice” by going with the current market leader

In the case of communications systems, this can mean living with the solution, service provider and cost structure for a decade or longer. Going with what the big guys use seems like it makes sense. After all, one might argue that he is piggy backing on the due diligence process of a large firm. The unfortunate thing is that SMB buying criteria should differ markedly from bulge bracket buying criteria.

What may compound this error is that when bulge bracket firms buy from industry behemoths they often do so because the market leader’s product (and support orientation) is optimized for their very largest customers. So you might be buying something meant for a different size customer and you may end up at the back of the line when it comes to that vendor’s priorities for providing service.

SMB, especially multi-location firms, need to be mindful of how they can efficiently roll out and support staff in branch locations and offer high availability, resilient systems for all users at reasonable costs. If a system is designed to be supported by highly trained, local IT staff you may have a lot of headaches dealing with the six person office in another city where the receptionist doubles at the IT resource.

At WCS, our products and service orientation are optimized for multi-site SMB financial trading enterprises who require high-performance, high-availability voice trading communications solutions that are scalable, flexible and manageable.


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Date: Tuesday, 19. April 2011 14:34
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Buying A New System, The Turret Market, Uncategorized

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