Ever heard the hype about a new movie say on a fan site, or from friends that is still in the making and thought… “wow… that’s going to be awesome” and then later when you see the movie, you find that the cool bits you heard about have been cut out for one reason or other… how do you feel? Most feel very let down. They feel let down that the end product does not anyway meet the product that was talked about by all the fan sites and passionate supporters. The movie studio for their part don’t want the information to get out too soon as it will loose traction, but the flip side is that by not releasing the information and letting the fan sites continually speculate about what is and is not in the movie, they run the very real risk of creating a major disappointment for the fans. Who then do the fans believe? Should they believe the myriads of fan sites that poor conjecture all over what might be, or should they wait till the release of the movie to see what is delivered?
Ok – so by now you’re wondering what the heck has this to do with IT? Well it’s the same as software development. Microsoft are busy working on the next generation of SMB server products, and there is much conjecture over what will be in them. Some such as Hilton have suggested their thoughts here and Mary Jo Foley has done the same on her site. The problem however is that what if you base your thoughts on this and start to advise customers based on them. When Microsoft releases the product, what if the product is not the same as the conjecture thrown around? Who do you blame? I’ll bet you’ll blame Microsoft for not delivering on what you THOUGHT was going to be. Bad move.
Now on the flip side, Microsoft… you have a responsibility to us as IT professionals, and your most vocal advocates, to ensure that the right information is out there. That includes quelling the misinformation. By allowing the rumours to grow, you are in fact feeding the problem and guess what… you will suffer in the end. IT Consultants will blame you for not delivering what they thought you were. The backlash in today’s market will mean that they might even consider NOT SELLING YOUR PRODUCTS. That might sound like fear factor, but I’ve got to be honest… in the minds of many resellers, it’s fact.
So I caution both sides… To the resellers, don’t believe everything you read – it may well be very very wrong. Guide your customers to make the right purchasing decisions for their business NOW based on products you KNOW are available NOW. To Microsoft, don’t keep us in the dark until the final hour in the belief that you are doing the right thing. Get the resellers involved in the development of the product so that it really DOES meet the needs of OUR customers.
Wish I could say more, but I’m not sure if anyone is listening anymore.