Do IT Vendors Ever Do Real “Knowledge Sharing” ?

I’m working out my 2013 high-level plans and something dawned on me. I’m not sure I know what the term knowledge-sharing means any more.

Large IT vendors treat their top-100 customers with kid gloves. I know this, and I think it is just fine. Kid-gloves meetings occur frequently. These visits often include “knowledge-sharing” sessions where the IT vendor pitches their latest solutions and, perhaps, roadmaps for future products. IT vendors come back from these meetings with “top 10” product deficiency lists and sometimes items from those lists do make it into internal roadmaps or even PRD (product requirement documents).  That’s good. However, I wonder how much of that is thinking inside the box—or better yet, list items to make one’s life inside the box a little better.  Or rather, how much time is spent discussing Y2K-era hangover problems? Trust me, I could convince you that a lot of what is heralded as state-of-the-art IT kit being pushed today is actually just stuff that addresses Y2K-era problems that largely do not exist with today’s hardware. When you read a current datasheet from any IT vendor ask yourself whether someone just plopped a quarter in the juke box to spin Party Like It’s 1999.

Who Is talking to You?

I feel we in the IT community are facing some serious changes. Indeed, I’ll quote myself from the interview I did last year for the Northern California User’s Group Journal (here):

Everything we know in IT has a shelf life

Ok, yes, I just quoted myself. I’m sorry, but it helps me get my point across.

I’m thinking about visiting some customers this year for real knowledge-sharing. I emphasize sharing because I want to learn from you. I want to know about where you need to go so I can help figure out how to get you there.  But I need to get the right audience. Audiences that are, for instance, not convinced we need to solve problems that no longer exists (thus my quote from that article).

So, for example, let’s say I showed up with the type of material I presented in this 2010 Hotsos Symposium presentation .  Does your IT shop even have the type of IT personnel that would find this sort of material interesting? Would they attend? If they did attend, would they then let me pick their brains about where they need to take their IT shop so I can help build the right products?

How about a poll?

4 Responses to “Do IT Vendors Ever Do Real “Knowledge Sharing” ?”

  1. 1 Vince February 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    No they dont really. Their function is to maximize profit for their company. This is invariably in conflict with what the customer requires. So real knowledge sharing it could lead to a “simpler” solution with less profits. Also how many Vendors IT staff really understand the requirements for a database system. Not many

  2. 3 Mark Callaghan February 14, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I hope one of your goals for 2013 is to write one good post per month. This is a good start.

    I attend some IT vendor meetings where real knowledge is shared. The key is to get engineers from the vendor in the meeting. I think it is common for good developers/engineers to be frank when talking in person about technology.

  3. 4 Noons February 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    You mean we’re not all Amazon/ebay/google/pick-a-really-big-totally-out-of-context-monster?
    What, when Oracle comes along and says “you should be doing Big Data” and our TOTAL data generation in 7 years hardly reaches 50TB, you mean they are just in lah-lah-land?

    Shiver me timbers! You mean it’s not the “recalcitrant DBA’s” fault?
    Dang, I’m all emotional now!

    Excellent post, Kevin. Thanks heaps for re-iterating clearly and openly what I and a few others have been hammering for the last 7 years.

    We’ve all moved on from the Y2K. Our hardware does NOT fail every fortnight and our DBs do NOT have a “performance problem”.

    And NO – we do NOT need to waste thousands monitoring and tuning out the last 1% of overhead in our systems!

    Don’t get me started on “fast provisioning” – I forgot the last time creating a new db instance and its vm server has taken me more than a day.
    Yeah, sure: we need “faster than that” because our business consists – exclusively – of “creating databases”…

    How much more business are those idiots gonna lose before they realize they are waaaaay out of context?

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I work for Amazon Web Services. The opinions I share in this blog are my own. I'm *not* communicating as a spokesperson for Amazon. In other words, I work at Amazon, but this is my own opinion.

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