A Mandate to Be Cheap


  • Service Provider

    Saw this today: "X..is looking like an attractive option as it is aligned with my unspoken mandate of "as cheap as possible."

    I responded with this: "Why is there a mandate to be cheap?  All business (and therefore IT) automatically has the mandate to do what is financially best for the business.  A mandate to be cheap implies that you are supposed to hurt the business' bottom line in exchange for being cheap.  That makes no sense.  Something is wrong... someone is pushing you to hurt the business?  Why?"

    Basically, we already always have a mandate inherent that we are to make decisions based on what is best for the business. Best is defined by what is financially best unless an intentional political override of this goal is made by someone with authority to do so. Period, end of story (except for non-profits where what is financially best is a different concept.

    If someone pushed for "cheap" instead of "financially best" it implies that they want to lose money - on purpose. They are overriding the inherent business process of "make maximum money" to do something intentionally less beneficial (read: intentionally harmful) to the business.

    I realize that the OP in this case only feels that this is implied as it has not been stated. But it is a bit of a problem.


  • Service Provider

    Remember, "wants to" is different than "is willing to". Sometimes it can even be unintentional and not malicious in any way. The end result is that opting for cheap every time is not in any company's best interest, but your tone implies that it is always malicious and intentional.



  • I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    Without clarification I'll continue to assume the above.



  • It's always a balancing act of cheap, good, fast... pick 2.

    Yes, I'm a cheapskate. I want what we need as cheap as possible...but it has to actually meet our needs...and that means, it ain't always going to be dirt cheap prices.

    Sometimes we gotta fork out the money to get what we need... and that's okay too.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.


  • Service Provider

    @art_of_shred said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    Remember, "wants to" is different than "is willing to". Sometimes it can even be unintentional and not malicious in any way. The end result is that opting for cheap every time is not in any company's best interest, but your tone implies that it is always malicious and intentional.

    No, my tone is that in this case the IT person feels that a mandate to not do what is in the best interest of the company financially but to be "cheap" has been given. Regardless of where it comes from or why, the IT person feels that this overriding of his core goals has been done.

    My tone is to point out what that means to a business. If IT people see this happening, we need to be aware that it means something very important and significant so that we can then determine how to behave.



  • I've seen this so many times. It comes down to risk management. How much can the business tolerate in lost productivity or revenue if there is a problem due to X being cheap? Is the business willing to assume that risk?

    Being in IT, I would always push towards the best solution for the company , even if it is more expensive. However, some business owners just don't see it that way. It's a shame, but as you know, it happens all the time.



  • @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".



  • I tend to agree with Dustin on this case.

    I know my boss "wants the cheapest option" but I also know that she wants what I believe to be a viable good, even if not best, solution. I think most SMB probably uses the term cheap incorrectly. They, like many of us, just don't communicate well.

    Anyone who's been talking to @scottalanmiller for any period of time knows that you can't bend a word's definition with him, correct words exist for a reason, and Scott mandates the correct word choice. But many of the rest of us aren't that specific (granted this is a downfall because it causes miscommunication).

    I wonder what would happen if the OP of the thread in question went to management and asked something like: Hey I get the impression that you just want a cheap option, even if it isn't the right one for the company - Am I misunderstanding?"

    This line of thinking puts the IT person into a position of offering solutions that might not work to management just because it full fills the cheap option. I work pretty hard to remove that thinking (not always possible) and only provide real, solid, good for the business solutions.


  • Service Provider

    @fuznutz04 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I've seen this so many times. It comes down to risk management. How much can the business tolerate in lost productivity or revenue if there is a problem due to X being cheap? Is the business willing to assume that risk?

    But risk is always part of the financial value calculation. So being cheap would imply breaking the standard risk/value to the business in exchange for something else.


  • Service Provider

    @fuznutz04 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    Being in IT, I would always push towards the best solution for the company , even if it is more expensive. However, some business owners just don't see it that way. It's a shame, but as you know, it happens all the time.

    That's because they are owners but not business people. This is so fundamental to business that it isn't funny.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".

    There is no "smart approach" to being "cheap" when "cheap" is an override to "doing what's best." No matter how you couch it, it's still - not doing what is best for the company.



  • @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @fuznutz04 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I've seen this so many times. It comes down to risk management. How much can the business tolerate in lost productivity or revenue if there is a problem due to X being cheap? Is the business willing to assume that risk?

    But risk is always part of the financial value calculation. So being cheap would imply breaking the standard risk/value to the business in exchange for something else.

    But you're also assuming that many businesses actually perform that evaluation.

    When in most cases I'd bet more say "we need to be able to do X, and we need to be able to do it for as cheaply as possible."



  • @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".

    There is no "smart approach" to being "cheap" when "cheap" is an override to "doing what's best." No matter how you couch it, it's still - not doing what is best for the company.

    XenServer with Support from a Third party is "cheap" compared to support from Citrix. So are you saying anyone that uses NTG for XenServer support is sabotaging their employer?


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I know my boss "wants the cheapest option" but I also know that she wants what I believe to be a viable good, even if not best, solution. I think most SMB probably uses the term cheap incorrectly. They, like many of us, just don't communicate well.

    Everyone wants cheap.... when it is also what is best. But what is best is what is important. In the OP's case... he feels that they want cheap instead of what is best. Sure they might overlap from time to time, or even often, but the decision criteria is that what is best is not the driving factor.

    Whether an SMB uses cheap correctly or incorrectly isn't the problem, the issue is that there is an inherent mandate to do what is best that we all are supposed to follow (that's the job of IT) until politics of the organization mandate that we do something else.

    In the OP's case, they've made him feel that his goals are not to do what is best for the company.



  • @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".

    There is no "smart approach" to being "cheap" when "cheap" is an override to "doing what's best." No matter how you couch it, it's still - not doing what is best for the company.

    XenServer with Support from a Third party is "cheap" compared to support from Citrix. So are you saying anyone that uses NTG for XenServer support is sabotaging their employer?

    Of course he's not saying that - the question is... Does NTG have the tools and know how to provide the level of support that the company needs? If yes, then the savings in this case are worthwhile, but if NTG doesn't, then the savings is detrimental because the solution of picking NTG does not solve the problem.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".

    There is no "smart approach" to being "cheap" when "cheap" is an override to "doing what's best." No matter how you couch it, it's still - not doing what is best for the company.

    XenServer with Support from a Third party is "cheap" compared to support from Citrix. So are you saying anyone that uses NTG for XenServer support is sabotaging their employer?

    Anyone that chooses NTG intentionally when they aren't believed to be the best option for the company is certainly sabotaging the company. That's just another way of saying "hurting them intentionally."

    Don't confuse the potential overlap of cheap and best with the goal of being cheap instead of best.

    And if cheap is the driver, you'd never choose NTG, you'd choose nothing at all.



  • @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".

    There is no "smart approach" to being "cheap" when "cheap" is an override to "doing what's best." No matter how you couch it, it's still - not doing what is best for the company.

    XenServer with Support from a Third party is "cheap" compared to support from Citrix. So are you saying anyone that uses NTG for XenServer support is sabotaging their employer?

    Of course he's not saying that - the question is... Does NTG have the tools and know how to provide the level of support that the company needs? If yes, then the savings in this case are worthwhile, but if NTG doesn't, then the savings is detrimental because the solution of picking NTG does not solve the problem.

    But it's cheaper, and @scottalanmiller will agree that 99% or more of businesses don't need developer level support for their hypervisor fleet.

    So he's essentially said using the cheapest option (free xenserver and support from NTG) is detrimental to the business.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".

    There is no "smart approach" to being "cheap" when "cheap" is an override to "doing what's best." No matter how you couch it, it's still - not doing what is best for the company.

    XenServer with Support from a Third party is "cheap" compared to support from Citrix. So are you saying anyone that uses NTG for XenServer support is sabotaging their employer?

    Of course he's not saying that - the question is... Does NTG have the tools and know how to provide the level of support that the company needs? If yes, then the savings in this case are worthwhile, but if NTG doesn't, then the savings is detrimental because the solution of picking NTG does not solve the problem.

    It's bigger than that... do they even need support? Is the cost/value of NTG's support better for the business in question than that from Citrix? We try to make that true as often as possible, but there are certainly times that Citrix is better overall for the customer in question and certainly times that having someone else and other times that having no support is best.



  • @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I would immediately assume that the word "cheap" is simply used incorrectly, whereas he means, to find the most business cost appropriate solution available.

    But that's the inherent mandate that is being overridden by the "cheap" mandate. So you would never state that in a business as it explicitly makes the former no longer the goal.

    But the word cheap can be used as "Hey we can buy the proposed system with XY and Z, but this will work for the next two years and saves the company money"

    That is taking the smart approach but also "being cheap".

    There is no "smart approach" to being "cheap" when "cheap" is an override to "doing what's best." No matter how you couch it, it's still - not doing what is best for the company.

    XenServer with Support from a Third party is "cheap" compared to support from Citrix. So are you saying anyone that uses NTG for XenServer support is sabotaging their employer?

    Anyone that chooses NTG intentionally when they aren't believed to be the best option for the company is certainly sabotaging the company. That's just another way of saying "hurting them intentionally."

    Don't confuse the potential overlap of cheap and best with the goal of being cheap instead of best.

    And if cheap is the driver, you'd never choose NTG, you'd choose nothing at all.

    You've said cheap should never be the business goal, the business goal is to be profitable.

    A cheap alternative to Citrix Support would be NTG support.

    So being cheap in this case, and by your defined argument means, the decision to be "cheap" is detrimental as they should choose Citrix for support every time.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    So he's essentially said using the cheapest option (free xenserver and support from NTG) is detrimental to the business.

    Cheapest option is always no support at all. When cheap is the driver, support is out of the question completely.



  • @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I know my boss "wants the cheapest option" but I also know that she wants what I believe to be a viable good, even if not best, solution. I think most SMB probably uses the term cheap incorrectly. They, like many of us, just don't communicate well.

    Everyone wants cheap.... when it is also what is best. But what is best is what is important. In the OP's case... he feels that they want cheap instead of what is best. Sure they might overlap from time to time, or even often, but the decision criteria is that what is best is not the driving factor.

    Whether an SMB uses cheap correctly or incorrectly isn't the problem, the issue is that there is an inherent mandate to do what is best that we all are supposed to follow (that's the job of IT) until politics of the organization mandate that we do something else.

    In the OP's case, they've made him feel that his goals are not to do what is best for the company.

    So there's a few things there - Why does the OP feel that way? It is because it's true? i.e. he proposes X and they always hack it down to Y which doesn't really meet the goals of the purchase, but it works, and they've been doing that so long that they think they will forever continue to be lucky (but really they just always think the IT person is shooting for the moon, so they assume they can always just hack and slash the IT suggestion since they've never been bit before)?



  • And I know of very few businesses that would say it must be Free

    Free is just dangerous, as it's all on "you" to maintain. Sure you save 100% of the cost.

    The term cheap to me (and I think others) means it needs to perform to the level that we can still run production (or whatever the use case is) and save more money than what we may have been proposed before.



  • A better example than support would be say Access Points (APs).

    The solution calls for 10 APs, but management wants to be cheep, so they only install 5. A year goes by and 99% of the time WiFi works just fine (and from a management perspective it's 100% because they personally haven't been affected) so now management looks at IT and says why did you want 10, clearly 5 have done the job. Now management doesn't trust that IT is doing their job as efficiently as they could have, and questions everything going forward.



  • Cheap is one of those subjective words as well... What @DustinB3403 thinks is cheap, what I think is cheap, and what @scottalanmiller thinks is cheap can all be different things.



  • @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    A better example than support would be say Access Points (APs).

    The solution calls for 10 APs, but management wants to be cheep, so they only install 5. A year goes by and 99% of the time WiFi works just fine (and from a management perspective it's 100% because they personally haven't been affected) so now management looks at IT and says why did you want 10, clearly 5 have done the job. Now management doesn't trust that IT is doing their job as efficiently as they could have, and questions everything going forward.

    I've been in this specific scenario, except for 1 or 2 APs vs 5 or 10... Initially things worked well...but as the APs aged, the device radios got weaker and weaker. So we got to explain to the president of the campus why we suggested 2 APs to start with.



  • @DustinB3403 said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    And I know of very few businesses that would say it must be Free

    Free is just dangerous, as it's all on "you" to maintain. Sure you save 100% of the cost.

    The term cheap to me (and I think others) means it needs to perform to the level that we can still run production (or whatever the use case is) and save more money than what we may have been proposed before.

    But if it doesn't solve the problem you're trying to solve, then what difference does the cost make? So to use your example, if you buy the 'cheaper' NTG option, yet they can't fix your problems, did you really get the cheaper option? I'd say no, instead you just wasted money.



  • @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    A better example than support would be say Access Points (APs).

    The solution calls for 10 APs, but management wants to be cheep, so they only install 5. A year goes by and 99% of the time WiFi works just fine (and from a management perspective it's 100% because they personally haven't been affected) so now management looks at IT and says why did you want 10, clearly 5 have done the job. Now management doesn't trust that IT is doing their job as efficiently as they could have, and questions everything going forward.

    This is a good example, and it could be proven that "well do you need 10 AP's here is the documentation to prove it"

    Which you could run a heat map, and check the coverage of the AP's and performance monitoring etc.



  • Additionally, in the case of support, you can generally buy time and materials support. So that might be the best solution of all.

    If you never use it, it costs you nothing. If you do use it, it MIGHT cost more than it did with a maintenance contract, but considering the time value of money, etc you still might be ahead.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @scottalanmiller said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    @Dashrender said in A Mandate to Be Cheap:

    I know my boss "wants the cheapest option" but I also know that she wants what I believe to be a viable good, even if not best, solution. I think most SMB probably uses the term cheap incorrectly. They, like many of us, just don't communicate well.

    Everyone wants cheap.... when it is also what is best. But what is best is what is important. In the OP's case... he feels that they want cheap instead of what is best. Sure they might overlap from time to time, or even often, but the decision criteria is that what is best is not the driving factor.

    Whether an SMB uses cheap correctly or incorrectly isn't the problem, the issue is that there is an inherent mandate to do what is best that we all are supposed to follow (that's the job of IT) until politics of the organization mandate that we do something else.

    In the OP's case, they've made him feel that his goals are not to do what is best for the company.

    So there's a few things there - Why does the OP feel that way? It is because it's true? i.e. he proposes X and they always hack it down to Y which doesn't really meet the goals of the purchase, but it works, and they've been doing that so long that they think they will forever continue to be lucky (but really they just always think the IT person is shooting for the moon, so they assume they can always just hack and slash the IT suggestion since they've never been bit before)?

    I asked about the "is it true" part. He only said that he felt it, not that it was stated. So that's certainly an issue. He needs to find out if doing things not in the interest of the business' bottom line is really what he is supposed to do.

    Understanding that prioritizing cheap means deprioritizing the overall value to the business is the first step. Then you are ready for a conversation: "Do you REALLY mean to imply that I should sacrifice business success in exchange for this different priority? Or did I get that wrong?"


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to MangoLassi was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.