CRN From the Coal Face

CRN From the Coal Face

31.5.2010 Converging on the ridiculous

There must be aliens out there providing alternative definitions of our reseller jargon for ordinary people.

You may think this article is a work of fiction when you read the next sentence. I was recently at a birthday party for a friend of mine... There you go, IT nerds do sometimes get out from under their doona where they have been playing Half Life 2 for the last six months.

The good part about being at a party is that no-one expects an IT person to be at the actual party, so they say all sorts of silly things about IT not knowing that secretly you are rolling your eyes and internally chuckling at their silliness.

At this particular party, I found out what the big end of town thought the word convergence meant. I have spoken before about some suppliers being confused about their model being direct or being through a reseller channel.

Dell used to rule the world in direct sales. They created a model that was world-class in direct sales and told consumers to stay away from those terrible resellers who only sit in the middle and take a cut and drink their Grange Hermitage while counting their money. They don't add any value to the transaction at all.

They told consumers of the world to save themselves money and deal direct. Suddenly we started to see Dell computers turn up in Officeworks. Apparently Officeworks was now the middle man? I was confused.

So you can imagine my increased confusion when I met someone at this particular party who told me all about convergence (before they noticed the Bluetooth headset on my ear and six pens and BlackBerry in my top pocket giving away the fact that I was in IT).

Now convergence is one of those sexy words that is thrown around all the time but I am not convinced that anyone really knows what it means. This person's definition of convergence was telling me that Dell computers are now going to be sold from Telstra shops. So apparently convergence is selling IT equipment from a telco outlet.

Wow - this convergence thing is really easy. I don't know why we have been struggling with it for so long. So all we do is sell IT from a telco outlet and sell telephones from an IT outlet and the world is converged. Stop the presses! Another conundrum of the world has been solved by yours truly.

For those who can manage to read between the lines, you may recognise some degree of sarcasm there. This complete lack of understanding of convergence is brought about by decisions being made by people thrice removed from the actual land that we live in.

I asked this particular person the last time that one of their execs had visited a store where IT and telco services were sold. The answer may as well have been never.

For those who wonder if aliens exist, I have all the proof that you need. Meet some of the decision makers at some large organisations and you will be convinced that they don't live in the same world that you and I do.

My definition of convergence is a little different. The day that we have ubiquitous access to the outside world from any device at any time at high speeds at minimal cost will be the day that convergence arrives.

Today I still have a communications business which has a focus on devices that communicate with each other and as a secondary aspect they can connect to the outside world.

I also have an IT business that has a primary focus of infrastructure devices that connect to each other and as a secondary aspect that infrastructure connects to the outside world.

One day all devices times will just be "connected" to everything. Until then, specialist resellers will continue to rule the day.

Tell me what you think convergence is at