SMBs

Are you a technology early adopter or a wait-and-see?

Our industry seems to divide into two camps: those who adopt every new thing immediately and those who are happy to wait until others have discovered or found fixes for the inevitable raft of problems waiting to be encountered.

Windows 7 is on the horizon (just how does Microsoft keep coming up with those snappy names?), and we will all be encouraged to upgrade our equipment to run it. Our industry seems to divide into two camps: those who adopt every new thing immediately and those who are happy to wait until others have discovered or found fixes for the inevitable raft of problems waiting to be encountered.

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This does not stop me from feeling like a bit of a leach, however. All those hard workers who dive in and work out the answers to all the problems, put in the hours, and have long conversations with software vendors about the defects do a lot to ensure that the product is prepared for the market, while people like me simply get a free ride and save money.

It could be argued that the vendors cynically use the early adopters to do the research that they should do prerelease. That argument can be countered by showing that development costs and thus, the retail cost, are kept down by early adopters so that tightwads like me can enter the market six months later and reap the benefits of a more stable platform while keeping my spending in check.

The industry, like sharks, cannot stand still; otherwise it will die. Software companies need to update constantly, or they fall out of view — at least, that's how they see it. They also need to think about the ACME Thunderer whistle, the design of which is an example of the perfection of simplicity. English football referees have used it without a hitch for over a century. If you bought one twenty years ago and bought another in ten year's time, you would not be able to tell them apart. Indeed, if you were to start messing around with it, you would probably alienate the loyal customer base. The point of this is that sometimes you can spend too long bedding in new systems and too little time just running a normal operation.

In which camp are you — the early adopter or the wait-until-the-bugs-are-worked-out? Do you think anyone is doing appropriate testing and research before they release products, or are they just depending on the rest of us in IT to do it for them?

(I apologize for the brevity of this weeks' blog — I have just come home from having shoulder surgery and my one-handed typing is not only very slow, but highly uncomfortable.)

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