When we started SpotLink over 20 years ago, we tended to recommend products from large technology corporations. (Think Cisco, Symantec, AT&T, etc.) We did this because, although the products were a little more expensive than low-cost providers, they came with extra benefits that made it worth it – 24/7 support, reliable hardware with business lifecycles, dependable security and firmware updates, and quick replacement of failed components.
In recent years, we have seen these large corporations move away from quality support to low-cost support. As a result, wait/response times have gotten much longer and the support staff answering these phones/chats/emails, once knowledgeable and skilled, now tend to read from a script and are not able to help if it is not in their answer book. Likewise, product lines and updates have become more irregular, and are not as reliable and dependable as they once were. In essence, this shift has sacrificed many of the advantages that used to make them more attractive. We find this highly ironic and paradoxical. As companies have moved to the cloud, ongoing quality support has become even more vital to successful deployment and ongoing operations.
Unfortunately, we don’t expect this trend to end anytime soon. While the measures that we at SpotLink to gauge a product successful – e.g. product relatability and quality support – are on the decline, the measures that Wall Street uses, profitability, has generally been increasing. So, there is no short-term incentive for them to change.
At the same time, we are seeing smaller more agile companies filing that gap with high quality, high support products, making them more attractive. The risks here are different, such as a higher chance of acquisition or dropping an unprofitable product line. But overall, the balance has been shifting to these niche players who provide solid products and high availability/high competency support.
As a result, you may have noticed that SpotLink has started to introduce product lines from smaller players that meet our criteria. We think these are bright spots in what the future has to hold.
But we haven’t abandoned the big players either. Some have such distinct advantages that they are still the best balance of features and total cost of ownership. For a few, their support hasn’t waned noticeably, or has even improved. In those cases, we will continue to recommend Copy of August 2020 Newsletterand actively supply those products to our valued clients.
Overall, SpotLink will continue to do as it has for our 20+ years: evaluate the changing winds of technology to find the best overall balance of features, support and price, so that our customers have a more prosperous and successful organizations.