The Downside to Options

May 26th, 2015 by

Have you ever heard the phrase “analysis paralysis”? It happens all around us in technology and in business. We are faced with an incredible amount of decisions to make and as the IT ecosystem widens with more offerings, we often are left with too many option to make a decision on how to proceed.

Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis

Analysis paralysis is most common in projects around which way to achieve a particular goal. It could be a user interface decision, or a workflow decision, or something that drills down as far as which hardware platform to adopt for a technology solution.

Information Overload

Ask any server and storage sales person how they are seeing the increase in sales cycle time for their product lately. Many more options have entered the market which presents a lot more to the consumer which means more decisions to be made. More options to decide from.

Don’t get me wrong that options are a bad thing, but what is a problem is that many traditional IT admins and managers have to take much longer to evaluate solutions because they are thinking about them the same way they did before they had so many options.

Options and choice in hardware and software can steer us away from the real purpose of technology, which is to solve a business problem. They are called solutions for a reason. This requires a new way of thinking when we look at bringing new technology on board.

New Options; New Thinking

When hyperconverged solutions went from a single upstart in the industry to a variety of vendors, we were left having to change the way we thought about evaluating how a hyperconverged platform would work in our own data centers.

The advantage comes to us as we take the leap of faith with an option and start the process of making it a part of our operational practice. New technology solutions added the challenge because we had to also rethink our operational strategy. This is a good thing.

Bringing Operations back to Innovation

Now that we’ve started to rethink the purchasing process, isn’t it time that we rethink the operations process? I don’t necessarily mean that your organization should be shifting from the core function of providing a technology solution for a business problem, but we need to do that in more innovative ways.

The classic way of handling technology with just pushing people and money towards it won’t do much more than create a linear growth in cost as the needs of the business scale up. This is where automaton becomes the enabler for you to scale your operations teams.

When automating a process though, we have the same challenge sometimes as the long purchasing cycle. There are many ways to automate a particular process, and all too often we get held back by the fear of not having the “right” way to solve the problem.

The truth of the matter is that there isn’t really a right way to do it that differs from the other options. The way to get to the goal is by letting automation take the process over and relaxing the appearance of control that was felt before as we did the same prices manually.

Automation isn’t removing options, but it means that each process being automated is one less thing that your operations team is handling manually. Not only that, but as we commit to one of many available options to automate the process, we relax the fear of just choosing and adopting a more agile approach. Choose the path, iterate the process, test for effectiveness as we go, and we have escaped the analysis paralysis stage.

Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis  , http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/engaging-consumers-sustainable-behaviour-round-up (Featured Image)