Bigstock_48447038 (2)When you’re producing marketing content to IT buyers, be honest about the downsides and tradeoffs of what you’re offering.

But don’t take my word for it. Read this first-person account by the anonymous “ITSlave” for SpiceWorks, which combines free IT management software for an online community for IT pros and the vendors who market to them.

No Perfect Cloud 

His story (the 239th in SpiceWorks’ “Spotlight on IT” series, was called “No silver bullet for slaying IT monsters: The cloud on a case-by-case basis.” In it, he explained how he evaluated whether “moving a service or application to the cloud may or may not make sense for a host of different reasons.” And, he said, the truth is that “As is the case with everything in life, there were also some trade-offs we had to make.”

He then described several examples. Moving a “flaky” Exchange 2010 implementation that suffered from poor planning and a rushed deployment to the cloud “is probably the best move we could have made,” he said. It lets them add or cut users as their contract-based business rises and falls from month to month. Uptime has been around 100 percent, better than he could have provided in-house. The major downside was they could no longer easily customize Exchange for each of their business units, but that was acceptable.

The second example was moving from tape-based backup that took too long to recover after an outage to a cloud-based disk-to-disk system. This reduced both time to recover and the amount of data they might lose in an outage. The tradeoff: Since they have no control over the recovery site, which is 2,000 miles away, they have to pay for annual testing. When his contract expires, ITSlave says, they’ll probably look to move to a more fully cloud-based infrastructure.

Finally, he described the pros and cons of their ongoing shift from physical to virtual servers using a local service provider. The good news is his employer is doing a better job finding, and eliminating, servers business units ordered but no longer need. That bad news is that creating a private cloud with the provider involved a “hefty” up-front cost, but it was still less than building it in-house.

They’ll Find Out Anyway

If this is how an IT buyer talks to his peers, isn’t this how you should talk to him as well? If you’re scared of pointing out the limits or tradeoffs in what you’re selling, look at studies that show IT buyers want product information from vendors, but they don’t want fluff. Remember also that ITSlave eventually learned the downsides of each of the cloud offerings he considered, and made the purchase in all three cases – and plans to stick with the provider in two out of the three examples.

Finally, admitting you’re not the best fit for every situation only increases your credibility, and weeds out prospects who you’ll eventually find aren’t a good fit.

Are you – or your clients – brave enough to tell the truth about your offerings? Or does this seem like the worst idea in the world to you?

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email or call me at 508 725-7258.

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