Think Big When Starting Small
Thursday, March 03, 2016
by Brent Black
What do stretch pants and LRS output management have in common? The short answer is that both products expand when needed, which is very beneficial at times. This expansion capability is a key element of the products’ respective value propositions, and I am pretty sure that most customers who purchase stretch pants think about possible future usage scenarios before they buy. Unfortunately, this is often not the case with output management solutions.
In fact, many decisions to acquire IT solutions are made within organizational silos, with little consideration for the potential requirements and benefits that a solution could provide to other organizations. This is because organizations generally operate in their own self-interest, focusing on their priorities and problems. It’s also easy to think small and act tactically, and vendors exploit this characteristic of human nature and organizational complexity.
Is it bad to start small? Do you need the “it-can-do-everything” solution day one? Of course not. As with many things in life, sometimes you start small to minimize costs and risks, and then see where the future takes you. Maybe you can only justify a modest investment to address some urgent business requirements. Maybe you simply aren’t aware of other requirements across the business. Finally, your boss may not care whether the solution is strategic or tactical as long as it solves the immediate problem, and you have limited time to make it happen.
There are a lot of good reasons for starting small, but that does not prevent you from thinking big. If you don’t have an enterprise output management solution, a good place to start is the “digital workplace,” which is comprised of the applications, tools and computing devices that let employees do their jobs. All business have such an environment, and it was historically populated with standard Windows desktops. It has since evolved to include virtual desktops and mobile devices, and the computing device may not even be an asset owned by the business (think BYOD).
LRS output management software lets you eliminate all of your Windows print servers, implement pull-printing for improved security, reduce administrative tasks and support calls, and offer a more robust print capability for your users. While these benefits are significant, they are the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the potential benefits you could realize across the enterprise in the future.
Our competitors also offer output/print management solutions for the digital workplace, but those solutions start and end there. In a nutshell, you have a dead-end solution the minute you sign the license agreement! You’ll have to look elsewhere for additional capabilities, and this will result in a disparate set of point solutions across the enterprise. You will end up with a complex infrastructure that is expensive, prone to failure, difficult to maintain, and a huge source of frustration for end users. Why would anyone adopt such an approach? Re-read the second and third paragraph for the answer.
Without a clear vision for the future, CIOs and other IT leaders will act tactically and limit their ability to deliver true business transformation. It is therefore critical to think big even when you start small. This is done by adopting a holistic solution for print infrastructure and output management; one that provides consistent functions, service levels and user experience across the entire enterprise. This drives standardization and simplification of your IT infrastructure, which reduces cost, increases employee productivity, and improves agility.
In summary, it is ok to start small. Just don’t think small and limit your options in the future. Better to build on a true enterprise architecture that satisfies your current workplace print requirements, yet can be easily extended to deliver greater business value across all applications and platforms in your enterprise. By taking a more holistic approach to output management, you’ll never experience buyer’s remorse or hear that hindsight is always 20/20. You’ll be a hero for thinking and acting strategically, which won’t go unnoticed.
I also recommend that you talk to other businesses about their experiences, but I would limit your discussions to output management, not stretch pants. Otherwise, you might not get the answers you were looking for 😲.