It’s time for another Oferized blog post The pearls of wisdom and thoughts of Ofer Shimrat.Greetings:
Ofer talks about his views on Karl’s post – http://smallbizthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/05/death-of-sbs.html
With his kind permission, I’ve reprinted his post to the SMBTN yahoogroup listserve here:
With all due respect to the author and my colleagues in this group – below is one man’s opinion.
SBS is not dead. Lets drop ALL pretenses here. Allow me to digress.
Take a moment to think of your metropolitan symphony orchestra at the city where you live. Think of the violins, the violas, the cello, bass, trumpets, clarinets, oboes, the percussion, the piano, et al. Imagine how hard it is to MASTER just one – ONLY one – of those instruments your whole life so that you can be good enough to play at a metropolitan symphony level organization. Now imagine knowing EVERYTHING there is to know about those instruments and when EXACTLY they come in or when they stay quiet, how subtle their tone or how inflective their cadence.
Are you imagining all this?
Good – because that is what the orchestra conductor does – and in addition, he has to know the entire ORIGINAL symphony composition, as the composer WROTE it, by heart in order to REALLY excel at what he/she does.
Rhetorically, what sets symphony conductors APART? Why is the New York Philharmonic Orchestra better than the Fargo Philharmonic Orchestra (no offense to North Dakotans)?
Among other things, talent, practice, mastery of the subject matter, humility and passion – the conductor has to know it ALL – and it HAS to be BY THE BOOK – or score, in this case.
By the book.
Metaphorically speaking, as consultants in the SMB space selling, installing, deploying, implementing and maintaining SBS – we ARE conductors. And as good SBS consultants we are akin to good symphony conductors. We have to know MUCH more than the average MCSE in a single particular area of expertise. There are MANY more fields that we have to have robust knowledge of in order to be considered good at what we do.
On a business level we have to determine the business need, the desired outcome and the methodology to get there. On a technology level we have to master not ONE server product, but SEVERAL server products bundled in SBS. We have to master not ONE piece of hardware but SEVERAL pieces of hardware to corroborate the desired outcome with SBS. We have to master not ONE piece of software but SEVERAL pieces of software in order to make the client machines function PREDICTABLY with SBS – you get the picture.
Rocket science, perhaps.
Profit, no doubt.
Common sense, for sure.
Humility, always helpful.
The customer’s best LONG TERM interest at heart, YES.
What makes good SBS consultants like good conductors – what separates application developers from code monkeys – what differentiates people that are GOOD at what they do versus people who are charlatans?
It’s the innate ability to recognize when the technology you are offering does NOT match the NEED of the customer NOR the outcome they desire. It’s the silly and somewhat unethical compromises that unfortunately many SMB consultants make in order to sell themselves so that they can cement the DEAL, irrespective of the LONG TERM interest of their client.
It’s the $ 399 servers – it’s the lets-not-install-all-the-features syndrome because they won’t use it yet so I-can-make-more-money-later – it’s the hardware/software/networking corners they cut at every juncture to maximize the almighty profit – it’s the ATTITUDE that they are in business JUST to make money and the client be damned – it’s the lack of imagination when confronting a tech support problem that almost ALWAYS has been confronted by someone before and SOLVED, and if not at minimum, addressed already in abundant detail in blogs all over the Internet.
Too often in the field I encounter previous deployments of SBS from people who had NO business even attempting to install it let alone deploy it – bad hardware, enterprise MCSE’s mindset, NO wizards, poor business judgment, just in it for the money, geeky friend-of-a-friend, apprentice-in-training, or SMB charlatans that simply do not take the time to learn and MASTER their trade and do not rise up to their own lack of knowledge.
That counter-productive behavior will yield lots and LOTS of tech support calls to Tier 1 support at Microsoft – lots and LOTS of frustration at spending HOURS with someone in China, India, the US or Belgium to de-construct BAD decisions made by the consultant EARLY on in the planning phase – decisions, TIME and resources that would have made all the difference had it been done early on PROACTIVELY instead of late-after-the-fact REACTIVELY – decisions that should have been tested in development before being put in production.
In a perverse kind of way it’s PAYBACK for poor judgment.
As good consultants, we have to be able to correctly match the needs of our clients with technology offerings, stay within a reasonable budget and subsequently equal or in most cases strive to EXCEED the prevailing expectations – that enhances our reputation, brings us additional word of mouth business and sets us APART from other run-of-the mill consultants in our SMB space – or ANY space for that matter.
And for the MOST part, if we have followed Best Practices, did it by the book as Microsoft intended, had good hardware and had our client’s Best Interests at Heart – for the most part – the SBS deployments and server/network operation are flawless. Again, stuff happens, hardware fails, software get corrupted – when it does the good consultant will exhaust the plethora of available resources – Susan, Wayne, Jeff, Andy, Chad, Anne, Vlad, Mariette, etc – before even THINKING about soliciting formal tech support from Tier 1 level from someone who is alarmed – ALARMED – at the fact that there is no users in the usual AD hive as part of the “troubleshooting” process in SBS.
I manage, by MYSELF, more than 70 servers in over 50 SBS customer sites with hundreds of workstations and I do it by the book – as the designers, planners, developers and programmers intended it. Just for kicks, at the risk of eliciting all kinds of comments from the community, I even have one customer site where their SBS 2003 SP1 server (Gateway hardware) has been up for 504 days – that’s a year and half – without ever being rebooted or going down – yes I did patch it for DST.
So I will have to agree with select previous posts from Susan, Tony, Anne, Jeff, et al and say that MOST of the issues encountered REACTIVELY are as a result of poor PROACTIVE initial deployment. Because just like a good conductor pays homage to the ORIGINAL composition, a good SBS consultant pays homage to the original designers by planning, deploying, installing, configuring and maintaining SBS by the book.
Can you imagine an SBS installation that is NOT done by the book and then what a surprise – needs tech support.
Can you imagine a conductor of an orchestra that is playing a Mozart piece suddenly digress and play Stravinsky?
Do you think the AUDIENCE or the MUSICIANS would REQUIRE tech support at that juncture?
SBS is not dead – it’s here and thriving Thank-You-Very-Much – what should be retired ASAP is the concept of poor implementations, lets-wing-it, bad judgment, incompetent work and arrogance.
My diatribe concludes by saying that it’s all about the BOOK, the WORK ETHIC and PRIDE OF WORKSMANSHIP – all of the other components will magically FALL into place and you WILL make money to boot – RARELY needing formal tech support.
Which is what separates a cacophony from a symphony and a bad SBS consultant from a good one.
Ofer Shimrat – BSIT, MCPS, MCNPS
TEL: (858) 484-0400
FAX: (858) 484-0491
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