I know my title is harsh, but I don’t want you ending up with software or hardware that doesn’t work right.
Start With Why
If your IT provider isn’t asking you questions when you request to purchase something, especially including the all-time classic “Why?” that most American toddlers are fond of, I urge you to reconsider your relationship.
Simon Sinek is a business coach and he used to run his own consulting agency (in this case it was marketing). He realized that to motivate and to accomplish, you have to start by asking the question “Why?” From there, everything you do should bring you back to why you’re doing it. He wrote a whole book about it.
Your IT consultant should be asking this and other questions so they can come up with or validate the best solution possible to your problem. There are a lot of factors that determine what solution is the right one. You should get a good return on investment with what you choose and it should meet your needs.
What Happens When Your IT Consultant Asks Questions
There have been times where we’ve been asked to sell all-new equipment and after some discussion realized that there was a way we could easily repurpose what was already there. Little money was spent and it went a long way. And there have been other times when a client wanted to buy something from us, but it lacked some critical feature and they were unaware of that fact, which would’ve doomed the project from the start.
A good IT provider will know product offerings inside and out, and keep track of all permutations of models and license, etc. Ideally, they also know your environment inside and out. Coupling these two together, your IT provider should easily be able to architect and validate what’s going to work the best.
If you wanted to buy, say a FortiGate 60E firewall, we have follow up questions. Why that model? What features do you need? How many users do you have? What’s your bandwidth? How quickly would you need replacement parts should something happen and your firewall stops working?
Knowing how you plan to use something makes all the difference in picking the right brand, model, size, etc.