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Finding The Needle Article, Part Two

In the first entry about deciding on an emerging technology company, I discussed the issue of price being a key motivator. In this entry I'll discuss selecting an emerging technology company because it is the only one that's solving a problem you have.
In the first entry about deciding on an emerging technology company, I discussed the issue of price being a key motivator. In this entry I'll discuss selecting an emerging technology company because it is the only one that's solving a problem you have.The second motivating factor is a solution that is just not done by anyone else, at least not right now. Many organizations in the storage space have done this and have evolved out of the startup phase and into the established phase. In rare cases they have essentially created the segment. Companies such as Network Appliance and Data Domain were startups at one time; now they are synonymous with their markets, NAS and data deduplication, respectively. The key, however, is they are addressing a real challenge to your environment. In the situation where a company is uniquely addressing a challenge in the environment, the risk of going with a new company is offset not only by the amount of pain you are in but also that there just may not be any other way to solve that particular problem. Desperate times call for desperate measures; one of those measures may be taking a chance on a young startup.

My guidance here is to go slow, even if your testing goes flawlessly. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a product test go great in the lab and the company buys significantly more capacity than they need because the were offered the "deal of the century." Then when the production system is implemented, the new product falls to pieces. Labs and testing are great. I love ours, but as I always advise clients, we can't test every scenario, find every flaw, measure every performance impact; only production does that. Buy small, roll out as slow as possible, and add to the production system as it passes certain milestones.

Look for companies that will accept this rollout strategy. By doing so, they are giving you an indication that they are looking to build a partnership with their customers. Always be suspect of companies that come up with an amazing price to get you to buy more than you need. You want to do business with companies that want your business, but not those that are desperate for your business. As the saying goes, if the deal sounds too good to be true ... it probably is.

George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.