Cost savings are not always compelling (enough) . . . from Gartner’s IT Research Director

10 Dec

Last week Gartner’s Rob Addy gave us a run down of why VPs of IT Operations [CIO, CTOs] and Data Center Managers hesitate to purchase IT infrastructure improvements:

Cost savings are not always compelling (enough), December 5, 2012

Addy describes when Gartner subscription holders would get a substantial membership discount if he could convince them to save big money—adopting some of Gartner’s recommendations. Now who wouldn’t want to save big money based on Gartner’s proven track record of IT vendor analysis across a worldwide market? The end-user clients he contacted surprised him—and not what anyone would predict—until you read them.

TellingStories

The top reasons given for non-adoption varied considerably:
“I haven’t been asked to save money there”
“I’ll keep that in my back pocket in case I need to make more cuts later”
“I’d have to get agreement from too many people within my organization”
“It will mean changing our internal processes (and that is too hard)”
“The return isn’t worth the pain”
“I have too many other things on my plate and don’t have the time to do it”
“I’m not prepared to bear the additional risk, however small”

IT Central Station offers a compelling way to dig deeper into the cost-saving strategies available. We empower IT users, cut through vendor spam, enable social networking among IT pros.  Anyone can be on the front lines of what does well in Enterprise IT infrastructure—peer to peer.

Rob Addy’s take on how to address the non-adoption from even the most vetted Gartner recommendations is summarized as,

“In reality you may need to position a minimum of two stories. The official party line for corporate wellness improvement that will be used to explain the rationale behind the decision internally and the highly personalized and personal story for your buyer (or buyers).”

Where can you find these stories? Take a look at IT Central Station’s Reviews as a start .

IT Social Media finds its best address for CTOs, CIOs, and Decision Makers from IT Enterprise and Service Provider markets @ IT Central Station.

At IT Central Station, you can follow products and solutions along with ones you’re considering for near or long-term planning—all done anonymously.

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The Weekly Roundup – Wireshark

30 Nov

This week’s roundup explores network monitoring and security software. Let’s find out what people are saying about Wireshark, a free and open-source packet analyzer. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education. Here are a few highlights:

  • Engnr246 says: “One of the best products that can provide the details of what is happening with an application and the full life cycle of the response time… [but] not always simple to setup and get the filtering right when capturing data.”
  • Techie says: “You can easily analyze each and every packet captured from the network based on protocol types like TCP, IP, UDP, etc.”
  • Mgrntwrk381 says: “[the] GUI layout is user friendly and straightforward, which provides protocol-based color coding and comprehensive graphical representation of raw data.”
  • RonSNunes says: “I’ve been working with Wireshark for a long time, since back in the days when it was still called Ethereal. Since then, there has been no alternative for me for Packet Sniffing. Wireshark does exactly what I want and leaves me with no need to look elsewhere.”

Wireshark was awarded 5 stars by real users. IT Central Station guarantees that all reviews are 100% genuine – not vendors, analysts, consultants or bloggers. We protect the privacy of the consumer community – we validate that the reviewers are real users of the products while ensuring complete anonymity so that you can say what you really think and be heard!

Click here to see what else Wireshark users are saying and share your thoughts.

Are you using other products for Network Monitoring? See what people are saying about AppResponse Xpert, SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, NetQos Performance Center and many more.

If you haven’t already, sign up with IT Central Station, browse reviews or write a review of your own!

IT Central Station covers a gamut of technology products and services that are used every day to power the business of Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 enterprises.

“Silent Customers” – Who Are They and Why are They Silent?

28 Nov

One of our mantras here at IT Central Station is to enable technology users to Be Heard. Most users of enterprise technology are not able to make themselves heard about what they think of the products and services they use. We have taken for granted the freedom to express online our opinions of products we use as consumers–such as hotel reviews on TripAdivsor, book reviews on Amazon, restaurant reviews on Yelp, etc. But for many enterprise technology professionals they cannot make themselves heard about the products they use on a regular basis (e.g. enterprise software, hardware, services). The need to be heard is IT Central’s Station raison d’etre and we’ve always had a hunch that this group of silent users constituted a large and silent majority.

So I was interested to read the results of a new survey by TechValidate on the types of B2B enterprise technology customers and how free they are to talk about the products they use. They found that by far, the largest group is “Silent Satisfied Customers”:

  • Silent Satisfied Customers: 90%
  • Occasional Named References: 7%
  • Frequent Named References: 2.5%
  • Super Customer Advocates: 0.5%

Silent Satisfied Customers are “customers who are happy with the product but can’t/won’t participate in named reference activities (can’t get legal approvals, don’t have time etc.).” We created IT Central Station to enable these 90% of silent users to finally be heard. They can post privately and anonymously so their company name and real identity are not revealed. (See what a review looks like.) Reviews take just a couple of minutes to write. Go ahead, write one now and be heard!

The TechValidate survey The B2B Customer Reference Funnel can be seen here.

Russell Rothstein, Founder and CEO, IT Central Station

ITU Gone Wild (or Why Free Speech on the Internet is at Risk)

26 Nov

The Internet as we know it is at risk. We are bringing to you today an important guest blog from Tony Rutkowski, who has been at the forefront of Internet standards and telecom policy over his distinguished career. Tony is intimately involved in this very important story, that is not well covered in the mainstream media, about how bureaucrats from Russia and other countries are attempting to take control over the Internet. We are posting this with permission from Dave Farber’s IP list where it first appeared.

In the world of telecommunications, a Geneva-based intergovernmental organization has existed since the mid 19th century to facilitate international arrangements for interconnecting networks and managing radio spectrum. This International Telecommunication Union has 193 nation States as members, and allows private industry to participate in some of its technical work. In the decades where all telecommunication services were offered through government agency service providers or government managed providers, and the services were simple, the ITU had value.

Today the environment is profoundly different, the ITU has no real role and has been largely ignored or abandoned. Over the past several years, sets of government bureaucrats in different countries, as well as ITU elected officials, have aimed to enhance their roles by taking an old treaty and pump it up with “regulatory steroids” – taking aim at the Internet, cloud computing, and new media.

In a week from now, a very large ITU circus called the WCIT will convene in Dubai. For 12 days, the 1500 plus representatives from 138 countries (and still expanding) will convene to consider how a treaty developed for the world of electrical telegraph networks in Dresden in 1850 known as the International Telecommunication Regulations will apply to the Internet and all other forms of communication, information systems, and content distribution. Even industrial control systems are within the broad sweep envisioned by some of the players. They call it the dominion over ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), and want to assert this dominion over all “operating agencies,” defined to include even individuals with Internet connected hosts. It is the ultimate intergovernmental appropriation of private property worldwide. The Arabic and African blocs are even backing a Cuban proposal for a unencumbered right to access to all Internet resources, with examples of Sudan being denied access to the Internet services of 30 American companies because of human rights related sanctions against Sudan.

This treaty making circus is preceded by another smaller ITU circus in Dubai for 10 days that got underway last week. It is the ITU’s telecommunication standards body called the ITU-T – and an intended beneficiary of WCIT treaty provisions. It promotes itself as the “pre-eminent” ICT standards body. In reality this intergovernmental body largely died about 15 years ago and has been abandoned by almost everyone. ITU-T initiatives for standards over the past 40 years have left the Information Highway littered with a trail of massive roadkill, including ISDN, broadband ISDN, OSI internet protocols, X.400, X.500, IMT-2000, and NGN – to name a few of the more prominent corpses.

For the past ten years, a number of people and nation blocs have been preparing for the WCIT. They include Russia, the Arab and African blocs, and the ITU’s current Secretary-General. Studiously, the seeds of the vast expansion of ITU jurisdiction and control have been embedded in copious resolutions, declarations, websites, and assorted other documents as advance groundwork was laid for the WCIT.

Now that the time for the WCIT is arriving, with each passing day over the past few weeks, the proposals have been officially published – capped by a Russian proposal over the weekend for explicitly taking over the Internet. It is part of a directive by Putin when he visited the ITU and its Secretary-General last year, to assume control of the Internet. Russia also has allies in a great many national regimes who see the ITU through its revised 1850 treaty as the salvation for everything wrong with Internet, new media, information systems, cybersecurity, and cybercrime today. Proposals for controlling everything related to ICTs, social networks, industrial control systems, and cloud computing are already before the ITU-T standards body now meeting, and Russia is set for anointing their own in key leadership positions. It is the classic lure of the Snake Oil salesmen of the Old West. Even Iran wants the ITU to continue helping with its Stuxnet centrifuge problems!

On the other side of this nation-State ensemble is the U.S. and the West in general. Other than the ITU’s radio spectrum management work, they and nearly all of industry have largely removed themselves from ITU activities. Their proposals quite accurately reflect the fact that the ITU’s formal remit includes only a few moribund legacy international telecommunication services, and fundamentally lacks the capacity to deal with anything more. Unfortunately, in huge ITU circuses beset with endless rhetoric, reality and rationality are usually in short supply.

The U.S. is fielding a rather large cast of 115 delegates to the WCIT. However, in the grand design style of Dubai, those nations who are hostile to the views of the U.S. and the West are sending far more boots on the ground. The UAE itself has announced 159 delegates and is expanding them by the day. For the most part, this mass of people consists predominantly of government “regulators” from Developing Countries who like the ITU leadership, see their jobs greatly expanded in their proposals. If one does the math, there are a substantial majority of nations and delegates who would appear to support the Russian-Arab-African proposals.

So where is this all heading? The best possible outcome is for the ensemble to declare the ITRs a worthless relic of 1850 and abrogate it completely – coupled with eliminating future WCIT’s and recommending privatizing the ITU-T to salvage its little remaining useful work. Unfortunately, that probably will not happen. Instead, there will be the treaty conference equivalent of “chicken” – with the Russian-Arab-African bloc plus the Secretary-General deciding whether to completely write off the remaining ITU telecommunications constituency in the West. It will likely come to a choice between populating the ancient treaty with provisions that institute the extreme agendas for the proponents, versus a set of feel-good resolutions that kick the ITU can down the road to another generation. Everyone then smiles, shakes hands, and issues press releases about how they did something useful.

In the world of treaties among nation-States, it is all about accepting obligations while remaining sovereign. Any country can limit its obligations by: 1) not signing, or 2) signing but issuing a Declaration at the meeting or during a subsequent ratification process. For 110 years, the U.S. never went to these conferences nor signed the outputs. It has attended only the last two, and largely renounced the provisions in both.

So what does all of this mean? DARPA Director Emeritus Steve Lukasik who authorized the development of the Internet in the 1970s and remains a sage mentor to many, points out that the technology was designed so that “no one is in control.” He observes “if the US and Europe take reservations or ignore the whole thing, who will lose more, us or the ragtag bunch that have taken over the Internet via the ITU?”

Assuming a worst case scenario, the last time the ITU tried this gambit at the 1988 WCIT, the resulting ITR provisions mandated use of ITU standards for all telecommunication. As everyone quickly discovered, there were lots of “kings, presidents, and voting” but no running code at the ITU-T. The global market and industry along with it, abandoned the ITU. It is one of many reasons why today there isn’t a viable ITU-T.

Lukasik, as usual, accurately summarizes the big picture.

Gartner: “Recommendations from Peers is More Important Than….Gartner!”

21 Nov

The headline sounds ironic, but it comes from a presentation given by Gartner entitled “By 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO.” I thought the topic was interesting so I checked it out.

The presentation was given by Gartner VP Laura McLellan and the premise is that “Marketing is purchasing significant marketing-related technology and services from their own capital and expense budgets – both outside the control of the internal IT organization and in conjunction with them.” Made sense to me.

What I found most fascinating in the presentation is slide 23 of the presentation (see below) which includes the findings of a survey of the most important sources of influence for purchasing marketing technology solutions. Industry analyst firms such as Gartner, Forrester and IDC came in second, followed by agencies and consultants. Coming in next was “online communities”, which include LinkedIn groups, message boards and industry portals that tend to be cluttered with vendors and others trying to promote  themselves or their products.

So what was ranked #1? The #1 most important source for product recommendations is recommendations from peers. No surprises here! We founded IT Central Station to enable technology professionals such as yourself to easily and privately research and share technology product recommendations with your peers. We built our platform to enable you to easily tap into a network of other real users, in a private and secure manner.

Recommendation from peers most important

The archived webinar is available free of charge here. No Gartner subscription required. If you just want a copy of the slides, send me an email and I’ll be happy to send them to you.

Russell Rothstein, Founder and CEO, IT Central Station

Harvard Study: User Reviews Reflect Judgments by Professional Experts

13 Nov

Our super-smart head of Product Management sent me a story about the latest new research from Harvard Business School. The research found that “user reviews tended to reflect fairly accurately the judgments made by professional reviewers.” While the study focused on online book reviews, I believe that the findings are relevant also for reviews of enterprise technology products and services.

What’s clear is that there is a revolution happening online with user reviews and IT Central Station is leading that revolution for enterprise IT. Write a review of a product you use and make your voice heard!

Here is an extract from the story:

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to read a book, where are you more likely to find useful answers? In the New York Times or London Book Review, or among the short, amateur reviews on Amazon.com and sites like GoodReads? It may not help to know that one may be as good as the other. A new study from Harvard Business School shows that, when considered as a whole rather than individually, the hundreds of reviews they analyzed tended to reflect fairly accurately the judgments made by professional reviewers.

There are differences, certainly: pro critics are harder on first-time writers and easier on award-winners. That sounds a bit stereotypical of the critic (snobbishness and joining others in acclaim), but it may also just be the result of having read more books.

And the general public is no less biased, if one can be biased in giving one’s opinion: novice reviewers prefer uplifting stories and likable protagonists. So unpleasantly real and flawed characters — award-winning author Cynthia Ozick notes that this list includes Hamlet, King Lear and Middlemarch among others — and bleak circumstances lead to more negative reviews.

The question seems to be whether you are looking for a recommendation or a professional judgment. You’d turn to your friends and acquaintances to learn about a good sushi restaurant, but most of us will admit that Roger Ebert’s opinion on cinema should be weighted higher than our neighbor’s. And yet if you took the average of a hundred people’s opinions, it would resemble the pro opinion more than you might expect.

Regardless of whether “the democratization of reviewing is synonymous with the decay of reviewing” as author and City University English Professor Morris Dickstein put it to The Daily Beast, there seems still to be room for both word-of-mouth recommendations and tastemakers like review magazines.

The Harvard study, by Loretti I. Dobrescu, Michael Luca, and Alberto Motta, can be read in its entirety here on the Harvard Business School website. The story appeared on the msnbc.com website under the title “Are Amazon reviews usurping the role of professional critics?” It was written by Devin Coldewey, a contributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website is coldewey.cc.

Will user reviews “democratize” the role that professional consultants and analysts have in recommending enterprise technology? What do you think? Post your comment below or send me an email.

Russell Rothstein, Founder and CEO, IT Central Station

Three Surprising Facts about Brand Advocates

8 Nov

In this blog I try to highlight the most interesting research about social networking, communities, and online reviews–which is usually centered around the consumer market–and show how these trends are starting to infiltrate our world of enterprise technology. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, we are in an online review revolution with more and more people writing reviews of products they use as part of their daily routine. This revolution hit first the consumer world and is now hitting the enterprise business-to-business (B2B) world as well.

Be Heard on IT Central Station

In this vein, I recently read a report entitled “Three Surprising Facts about Brand Advocates” by a company called Zuberance. Brand advocates are basically happy customers who recommend the product or service to others. The following are the three “surprising” facts:

      1. Brand Advocates are even more actіve than prevіously thought. Brand Advocates recommend more brands, products and services more often and in more categories than earlier data suggested.
      2. Brand Advocates have even larger socіal networks than prevіous studіes showed. Brand Advocates have hundreds of friends and colleagues in their social networks. Their recommendations reach many more people than earlier estimates suggested.
      3. Brand Advocates’ recommendatіons aren’t lіmіted to consumer brands and products. Contrary to popular belief, Brand Advocates recommend both consumer and business products and services. Advocates recommend products that most people consider mundane, like anti-virus software and file transfer services.

This last sentence I think is what’s relevant to our world. Here at IT Central Station, we’re finding people are writing reviews about all different types of enterprise technology products, from the mundane to the cutting edge — IT management software, blade servers, marketing automation software, SaaS, cloud providers, and much more. You don’t have to be a “brand advocate” to write a review on IT Central Station – we have provided a platform for you to be heard, whether its a glowing 5-star review, a critical 1-star review or anything in between. If you haven’t already, browse the latest reviews or write your own review and make your contribution to the community!

Russell Rothstein, Founder and CEO, IT Central Station

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