Author Topic: A Personal Rant - "Enterprise"  (Read 1212 times)


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A Personal Rant - "Enterprise"
« on: January 09, 2015, 09:09:08 pm »
It's not really a carefully guarded secret that I have done a lot of work for companies that think "enterprise". What I mean by this is simply this:

"Let's move everything to the cloud!"

"We need to have the most expensive technology!"

I have a hatred for this way of thinking. I feel like a lot of IT guys out there feel the same way.

I'm going to start this rant with an example!

Let's put you in the position of someone looking to spend $3000 - $5000 on a computer. You're wealthy, but not quite rich. You just have some disposable income and are looking to make a nice investment on a computer. Your main activity is Netflix and you sometimes bring some work home. You're an aid at a medium-sized business which enjoys some success in a wealthy neighborhood in Florida.

(Just to clarify, I am keeping this general as this is not about a single person in general, but multiple people I have encountered.)

You don't really have any idea about building a computer. You want to get some advice because you don't really know what you're doing. Your first thought is to ask that IT guy you know!

When someone approaches me in this type of situation, I point them to brands that have a long warranty which I have a pleasant experience with. There is a lot of leeway here since some people have good experience with company A and others with company B. Just to name one, I have had a lot of personal success with Lenovo. So I spec out a computer for them based on their needs and explain that they don't need to spend that much money.

"How will I know this computer is going to be good? That's too cheap. What about a Dell? They have some on their website for a lot of money. I think I'll get one of those."

What do I know? I just work with computers for a living.

I explain to them that the specs of those machines are meaningless for their use. I go through different options. How do they enjoy their computer? How do they usually consume media? How often do they use it? After all of this, I find out they like to sit on the couch.

Why not get a cheaper machine and get a Chromecast / Amazon Fire Stick / Whatever the hell else there is out there.

"Well, {x} got a Dell computer and they have had no problems with it!"


There are two issues here:

1) Why are you asking for advice if you're just going to go the expensive route in the first place?
2) Why is it that people think in the following manner?

Expensive = Better

I've talked with a lot of people who are more down-to-earth. These are the kind of people that pay attention to the details. They know where their money is going. They have a wide variance of knowledge in computers, either from understanding them in-depth or barely understanding them. These people are more often to accept my input and possibly use it. $3000 for a computer when your main source of entertainment is YouTube(tm)!?!

I have found people who have worked in an "Enterprise" for a long period of time are the people who are stuck in this way of thinking.

When you're looking to manage all of your contacts in business, one of the first things you, as an "enterprise" user, thinks of is SalesForce(TM)(R)(C)(OTHER SYMBOL HERE).

Why SalesForce?

A lot of large businesses use it.

"Everyone else is using it, therefore it must be great."

Or at least that is the perception, and the only thing that really matters in the enterprise world is perception.

Am I the only one maddened by this way of thinking?


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Re: A Personal Rant - "Enterprise"
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2015, 09:13:50 pm »
1) Why are you asking for advice if you're just going to go the expensive route in the first place?

They're not asking for advice. They're looking for validation. They've got fuck you money and damn it they're going to spend it.


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Re: A Personal Rant - "Enterprise"
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2015, 09:20:46 pm »
At C's request, I figured I would delve deeper into this.

During my time doing some side consulting work, I had one person ask me about email solutions. We discussed in-depth what they use their email for, how much they use it, and what they are most comfortable with. I've done this before for the company I work with and the client had similar needs. While their usage scenario was not the exact same, there were a couple of issues I could work through with an alternative solution.

The needs for this project were pretty simple:

Multiple users wanted access to their same emails from all of their devices.

In the modern era of computing this is pretty simple to accomplish. There are a few different ways:

2) Online Service (Gmail, Office 365, etc.)
3) POP3 w/ Syncing

There may be other ways of accomplishing this, but these are the methods I have seen for the most part.

The other way, which I was hesitant to suggest, would be to store all of the emails on a server and access using a webmail client.

There are a few reasons why I don't want to suggest a self-hosted solution to businesses.

1) Most businesses around here lack someone who has enough time and knowledge to be able to manage an email server adequately.
2) Security with most businesses around here is rather... lax.
3) If something happens with their email, I will be the first person they are going to contact. It is also going to be MY fault that they forgot to ensure their server, which I did not set up, did not have a battery backup.

Full Disclosure: I am not a networking professional. Nor am I an experienced server administrator.

This being said, I know my way around things and can generally spot a problem before it becomes a problem.

I gave this company the usual recommendations. They apparently had an internal meeting and decided, against my judgment, to get an Exchange server.

"One of our competitors is using Exchange and my partners felt like it would be a great idea to make our company look big. We want our customers and our competitors to know we mean business."

"Alright. Are you going to use Office 365?"

"We want to bring it in house."



So at this point they are asking me to help them pick out the hardware for the server, the type of rack they would need, and the type of machine they would need to get together an internal Exchange server. Let's ignore the fact that I know very little about Exchange or the requirements to set up a server. I explain this to them and they feel like I should be able to handle it. "You're a smart guy!"

I entertained them for about 2 days. I reached out to a friend of mine that had experience in handling Exchange. I also took some lessons I had received from when my company had attempted to do the same thing (through an external company).

At the end of this time period I withdrew myself from the project and gave them a couple of references to companies around the area. I explained to them the difficulty I would have and that I wouldn't have the time to manage their email.

Many businesses want to appear to be "big" and "enterprise" in order to make sure their clientele feels comfortable with them. I can understand to some extent wanting to not look like a "one man show", but there comes a point where appearing like a "big corporation" is going to cause more problems than it solves.

It is something that really bugs me in the small business world. This was a business that was SIX PEOPLE.


Why do six people need an on-site Exchange server?

If you're not sure why I am even ranting about an Exchange server, I am very glad you have not been put through the hell that is setting up, managing, or diagnosing one.

I will post a few more examples of this thought process later. I am getting flashbacks from just typing this. >>