• Good Business Relationships are Gold

    If you have been following my rambling rants you might think that I am about to suggest the best technology for your long term archiving needs. Well, not today. We might discuss some hardware and software options down the track but the most important component is a piece of wetware- the ‘Trusted Adviser’. Only you know your desired outcome but others may be better equipped to get you there. It might be your I.T. Vendor, application provider, third party consultant or your wife. No matter how well equipped you or your team think you are there is always room for advice, even if you ignore it.

    I recall a story from my distant past when I worked on ledger machines. These electro-mechanical monsters (mostly mechanical) would use a striped card per account. The idea was that you pull Mr Jones’ card from the filing cabinet and feed it into the beast. It would read the account details, balances etc and await input. You would then key in details of the current transaction and the animal would print a line in the ledger, update totals and add details to the magnetic stripe on the ledger card. Then you replace the card, get the next one and so on. You end up with a printed ledger and updated account cards.

    We had a small business customer who decided that we were ripping him off for the cost of blank cards so he went out to tender. The winning tender was a printer who duly delivered 1,000 nice, new cards all neatly printed with lines and logos and smelling of lavender. (Just kidding about the smell) They didn’t work. After a week of inconvenience, wasted time, costly service calls, anger, frustration and torn out hair, it was discovered that the printer had innocently printed the brown stripe down the side of the card with no idea that it was supposed to be magnetic oxide. He was not aware of its significance.

    Everybody had a good laugh at the business owners expense and we delivered a new box of cards. In the end, the customer was out of pocket, behind time and embarrassed. The printer got no repeat business and wasted a lot of time. We had delayed our sale and somehow came out looking like the bad guys for not making obvious the purpose of the stripe.

    The real problem was that the business owner did not trust us. (Probably our fault). He did not turn to someone with appropriate knowledge for independent advice. Good business relationships are gold. I encourage you to work on developing a mutually beneficial relationship with a ‘trusted advisor’ wherever you can find him or her.

    Mike Sparkes is author of the blog Obscure Aussie and an IT storage expert based in Brisbane, Australia.

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