That has to be one of my most feared phrases … “Can you recommend …?” Often the person is actually saying “can you make the buying decision for me?” To which the answer is "no, I can’t make up your mind for you. Would you ask me to choose your car or your house?"
The easiest way to keep IT people busy is to lock us in a room until we can agree on the best anti-virus software.
The problem with technology is there is no ‘Best’. There’s only the ‘best for you’. You can be guided to making that decision based on input from others but here’s the thing … that input is going to be coloured by their experience and the experiences of their peers.
And as technology grows and the capabilities between different products start to blur, you can start to stare at things that basically do the same thing. So how do you choose? Or how do you recommend what’s truly best for the business, putting personal experience aside? Should you put personal experience aside?
Put your hand up if you’ve ever seen a company throw out one software vendor because a new manager has come in and they prefer something else? Exchange versus Lotus Notes. Microsoft versus Google. On premise versus Cloud. Mac vs PC. All of these decisions are influenced by the previous experiences of the decision makers.
My tactic is to squeeze as much information out of them as I can about how they work, what they want to achieve etc and then say “Well this is what I’d do if I was you…” But I can almost guarantee someone else will have a different opinion. They’re like bellybuttons. Everybody’s got one!
How do you handle the recommendations question? Do you weigh up all of the available options for them or go on past experience?