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How Hype Makes for Bad Business Decisions

I am constantly amazed by the amount of hype that I am seeing that tout the value of new technologies, services and apps. Leading analysts are producing informational hype aimed at thought leaders at what I think are alarming rates. And based on my years of experience hype makes for bad business decisions. The reality is that enormously important business and product decisions are made by intelligent, responsible people with the best information and intentions are sometimes hopelessly flawed because most of the information they are using is hype disguised in the form of factual research.

The appeal of hype is easy to see. It reaches out and grabs the reader. It seems to provide clear, authoritative information and advice that drives the reader to a buying decision. It’s easier to grasp and definitely easier to implement than a well-considered plan. It’s “now”.

It seems where ever there is opportunity to profit, business and industry analysts are there to gain from the hype surrounding such profits. Now the question for business and technology thought leaders is who do we believe and take our advice from? The professional “talking heads” or those with real world business experience? Or better yet, maybe someone who has a blend of both. Frankly, it’s a wonder so many companies and business leaders are taking anything they hear from the technology world seriously any more.

Too often, technology vendors and their partners appear to be willing members of an exclusive club that effectively uses hype to confuse, bemuse and scare customers into buying technology rather than encouraging them to do so by giving them the understanding to make informed decisions about it. It would take a big change to free current technologies such as SDN, cloud computing, BYOD, social media and big data from the hype cycle.

Take BYOD for example. I get why BYOD is attractive. BYOD has been hyped at the next big must have and the next bog sales opportunity and the FUD created by the hype can be downright scary. We are told that BYOD will empower workers by giving them the freedom and flexibility to work anywhere on their own personal devices and dramatically increase productivity and security. We just have to run out and get it.

Well the truth is that deploying BYOD could lead to higher service, support and device management costs; we are back to those profit opportunities again.  Data is already indicating that the money savings are somewhat non-existing; costs increase from IT having to support a greater variety of devices, productivity gains can be offset by the constant distraction from personal apps, and security breaches in BYOD companies are on the rise.

Bad Business Decisions

As to the sales opportunity many technology distributors and resellers have jumped onto the BYOD hype bandwagon providing integrated solutions only to find disappointing sales even if the solutions is technologically good. The truth is that BYOD has become both a headache that resellers and IT departments don’t want to deal with and a commodity with most cell phone providers/carriers are providing some form of managed BYOD service for a ridiculously low monthly fee that both distribution and resellers can’t match.

The trend is about thinking beyond BYOD and much more about managing the user experience and using mobile to get the real work done (don’t forget most real work gets done on a PC desktop) that drives revenue.

So what is the answer to hype? Trust your IT professionals and existing solutions to provide a solid solution to address the hype and provide real business tools. And for distributors and resellers, provide a no-nonsense guide that that cuts the jargon and hype and provides real cost cutting solutions and when possible use existing technologies.

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