Editor’s Note: Alexander Haislip is a marketing executive with cloud-based server automation startupScaleXtreme and the author of Essentials of Venture Capital. Follow him on Twitter @ahaislip.
Pity the enterprise software conglomerate, its salespeople abandoned at the altar, its customers fleeing from committed relationships. Shed a tear for the server maker, no longer able to lock-in long-term sales, support and service engagements. Their customers are cheating on them with sexy new startups.
Today’s IT professionals are veritable libertines, swapping services and systems around like priapismic satyrs at a techno-bacchanal. What’s worse: management condones this kind of behavior by pouring even more money into IT budgets.
I blame easy-on SaaS-ified software, give-it-away mobile apps and no-commitment cloud infrastructure. They’ve seduced IT professionals with their breezy bohemian attitudes. They’ve undercut the high moral fiber that the established enterprise vendors have long embodied vis-à-vis mutual commitment and connubial sales agreements.
Aspersions, I cast them:
We’re fortunate that this nasty bit of business hasn’t penetrated every aspect of enterprise IT. Its lascivious invitation to IT professionals simply could not be more direct: “pay-as-you-go.” How such a slatternly proposition goes unchecked by the authorities, I know not.
And the companies engaged in Software-as-a-Service do so without the proper courtship rituals of a well-trained enterprise sales team. It used to be accepted that IT professionals could expect months of meetings, calls and presentations before getting down to business. Yet these Software-as-a-Service companies fully embrace the concept of Quicumque vult, conducting their business with whomsoever should encounter their website.
And the awful acronymization! Oh, how they do pronounce it. “SaaS.” As though referring to an unmentionable anatomic. Insouciant connotations might have been nipped in the bud by simply rhyming the acronym with “face” or “bouillabaisse.” Surely a cunning linguist might have avoided such a gouache double entendre. Meditate on that, Mr. Benioff!
“Why buy the suite when you can get the app for free?” I found myself mortified upon overhearing this utterance escape the lips of a technology executive. But this is the reality of the modern situation.
App-makers run rantipole throughout the tech industry, offering quick and easy access to functionality previously reserved for serious software suites. These houri slyphs, by dent their relationship with the wireless carriers, entice users with an experience delivered “right to the palm of their hand,” as though enjoining them to some sort of digital onanism.
When you buy a server, you make a commitment to have and to hold that machine until death do you part. How is that not clear?
I blame virtualization vendors for encouraging people to think of “instances.” It is one thing to keep these dalliances confined within the enterprise, where they may be embraced as a healthy form of digital role-playing. I’m told that there are even illustrated examples of setting up virtualization scenarios such as the “eager applicant” and “naughty nurse,” in that excellent reference book The Joy of Server Administration.
But to extend virtualization to a shared computing infrastructure where servers are swapped around willy-nilly just isn’t right. It’s a digital version of the Kerista Commune, a constant key party of computing.
A Public Confession
I abhor the moral decline in information technology driven by these new movements. I have seen first-hand how they destroy committed, long-term relationships between enterprise software conglomerates and their customers. Sure, there were rocky moments between the betrothed—the service pack, the bug fixes, the integration and training consulting—but leaving was never an option under the old agreement. When you tied the knot with a vendor, you couldn’t just unwind it.
Yet times change.
I’m not proud of it, but I have contributed to the decline. My company’s server automation products are delivered as a service and available online. Our mobile app is free to use—even in public. And worst of all, we empower IT professionals to try cloud computing for the first time. I blush just to think of it.
I know what we’re doing entices IT professionals; good people who have already promised their budgets to legacy software conglomerates. I don’t want them to abandon their long-standing commitments, even if their love has cooled. I just want to make our customers happy. Is that so wrong?
At least we’re honest about who we are. It’s not an “A,” but our logo does feature a scarlet letter.