Is Your IT Consultant Biased?

Does your computer guru think the way he thinks because it's in his best interest to think that way?

If you ask a cloud computer vendor about moving to the cloud, he's going to tell you it's a good idea. He'll emphasize the ability to work remotely, the savings over maintaining servers, the economies of scale, security, backups, etc.

If you ask the local IT guy (the one who takes care of your server) about the cloud, he's going to tell you it's a bad idea. He'll emphasize the loss of control of your data, the difficulties of switching systems, the challenges of customizing applications, etc.

We're good at uncovering bias on the witness stand. We need to be equally good at understanding the biases of the vendors.

Some lawyers think of local IT consultants as objective advisers. They're not. They have a dog in the fight, and they frequently have an interest in steering you away from a cloud-based product.

When you study your invoices for keeping your technology running smoothly, you're going to find that a big share of your monthly outlay revolves around maintaining servers. That expense changes when you move to the cloud.

It's important to note that the server maintenance cost doesn't disappear. You'll still contribute to the upkeep of servers if you transition to the cloud. However, those dollars will run though the fingers of the cloud-based system provider rather than the local guy. That makes a big difference to everyone involved.

Understanding the bias of the local IT consultant is tricky. Most of us have a long-term relationship with the firm we've been using. We trust our consultant.

It's hard to believe that our IT firm would direct us away from cloud-based products to protect its pocketbook, but that's what I see happening all the time. It's not intentional; it's not malicious. The firm is giving you its best advice based on what it knows and what makes it comfortable. Unfortunately, it may not be keeping up with the latest technology because, for the IT firm, the latest developments aren't what pays the bills.

When you're looking at changing technology, think about the bias. Examine the vendors with the same skills you use to cross-examine witnesses. Dig deep and understand the underlying motivations. There isn't an easy and simple answer when considering a move to the cloud: every decision has its pluses and minuses. However, it's important that you get reliable information from everyone involved and think critically about why you're being told whatever it is that you're hearing.

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