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The following axioms or sayings are based on our experiences when working with different technology and high technology vendors around the world over the past 30 years. The list is far from complete. It should be noted that we have served both as consumers of technology as well as a vendors of it.

The list of axioms does assume that you:

- Understand your business; and

- Understand your motivation for wanting to make a change to that business.

The list does not assume that you:

- Understand the motivations of the people that you are trying to work with; or that you

- Understand technology or how you are trying to apply it in your business.

The list has been divided into groups of axioms based on their applicability to the purchase, installation and usage of technology.

Basic Axioms

We live in a capitalistic society.

Money can create all sorts of abnormal behavior.

For every rule, there always seems to be an exception.

Purchasing Axioms

Make a detailed list of what you want your system and each component to do. Never assume that the list is complete or accurately reflects what you really want. How do you know what you don't know?

Remember that technology cannot do everything for you.

Your vendors will typically tell you that technology can do everything for you.

Technology today only does what you tell it to do and it might not understand what you have told it.

Keep your environment simple.

Minimize the single points of failure. Either you start losing money or your service quality declines the minute something critical breaks.

Make sure that the slowest component(s) can support your performance requirements for the next two years. Slow response translates into longer call times, which translates directly into higher costs per calls and/or higher abandonment rates and/or declining service levels.

While your system will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you will only use it a portion of the time. Once you turn your system on, keep it on. Turning technology on and off is one of the most stressful things that you can do to it.

Obtain and keep up to date diagrams that describe your system, its operation and its components. While you may not understand them, someone else will when you need help from them. The diagrams will enable them to provide you with the assistance that you need in a more timely fashion.

If you don't understand something, keep asking until you do. Technology does not have to be complicated. Typically, people make it that way

Obtain guarantees from your vendors that each component will provide you with your desired functionality. You will then get some satisfaction when something breaks or doesn't work the way you thought it would.

New Technology Introduction

Provide a means of testing new components and capabilities without impacting your production environment. If you have to shut your system down during production hours, you are losing money and lowering your customer satisfaction levels.

Always expect the unexpected.

Assume that you will continue to invest in your system, trying to make it better. Better translates into more revenue per minute and/or decreasing your operational costs per minute.

Technology is old the minute you install it. Companies always have new and better things in the lab.

Product life cycles are declining more rapidly than the adjustments to the product depreciation schedules.

Technology Needs People

Assign qualified personnel to be responsible for each component.

If you don't have qualified personnel to support each component, retain them. Your personnel will prevent problems from happening through proactive maintenance. Your personnel will fix the problems when your vendors don't show up in a timely fashion.

Don't assume your vendors are always going to provide you with the support that you want and need when you want it, even if you have contracted for it.

Work with at least two (2) vendors to get the best price, functionality and service.

Don't assume that a vendor knows anything about another vendor's equipment. If he proclaims to, assume that he only knows what is beneficial to him, and not necessarily to you.

Don't assume that a vendor knows everything about his equipment. Many vendors don't use their equipment day in and day out as you intend to do.

Find other vendor customers that use the equipment in the same manner that you are intending to. Make sure you determine what that customer feels are the strengths and weaknesses of the equipment and/or service.

Don't assume that a vendor is going to work the way that you want them to. Until you control 10% or more (i.e., their approximate net profit margin) of their business, you will never have their undivided attention.

While you may get great service from a vendor prior to a sale, don't assume that you will continue to get that same great service after the sale. What is their incentive? Also, a new set of vendor personnel will typically be working with you after the sale.

Whose Responsible?

Make a list of who you are going to talk to during each hour of operation if a problem arises

Identify which components require daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual maintenance.

Plan for what you're going to do when it doesn't work (for an hour, half-day, day, week, month).

When it breaks, you, the customer, will suffer more than your vendor regardless of how you wrote your contract..

If you have your axiom that isn't listed above, why not send it to us so we can include it. Send us an email with your axiom entered/pasted in the body.
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