Is a price war for solid state disk drives on the horizon?

April 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

A while back, I wrote about the impact of the flooding in Thailand on the price of traditional mechanical disk drives. Since just about every dark cloud has a silver lining, this natural disaster has accelerated the development and maturation of the solid state disk (SSD) market. Naturally, this growing segment has attracted a bunch of new players, and this is a bit unsettling to the established leaders. In response, these vendors appear to be trying a time-tested approach to squash newer and more nimble competitors:

Major SSD firms have initiated price reductions to reflect falling prices for NAND flash chips. The move is also aimed at triggering a price war in the market in an attempt to squeeze out smaller peers, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

From the perspective of cloud computing and Big Data/NoSQL, if an SSD price war does ensue, there’s a very good chance that it will result in further innovations in affordable hosted high-performance databases. In-memory disk drives should also go a long way toward increasing the scalability and predictability of shared cloud-based virtual machine instances.


A good example of an effective ROI calculator

April 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

A while back, I described a series of the most common technical marketing mistakes that I’ve encountered over the years. The price of these errors and shortcomings is measured in lost revenue and unhappy customers. In one of the most notable instances, many sales opportunities hit a brick wall when the vendor is unable to make a persuasive argument that demonstrates a solid Return on Investment (ROI). Ironically, there may be ample data to back up this proposition, but there simply isn’t any supporting collateral. To add insult to injury, it’s often relatively straightforward and cost-effective to construct and deploy the necessary tools that make the economic case in favor of your product or service.

For example, Think88 recently completed an ROI calculator project for Sybase. The goal was to help customers comprehend the financial advantages of employing the new compression capabilities offered by Sybase’s Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database platform. We created two versions of this calculator: one for anyone to use on the Sybase website, and another, more detailed edition – including pricing – to be used exclusively by Sybase sales representatives in one-on-one situations with their clients.

Accurate, honest, and concise ROI calculators such as this one can go a long way towards building a realistic business justification and then winning the sale.


Winning sales engineer trait #3: Intellectual curiosity

April 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

In the first two installments of this series, I described how the best SEs have a competitive nature paired with solid technical skills. The next essential characteristic that I’d like to portray is the innate curiosity possessed by these top performers.

An SE who enjoys learning new concepts and technologies will be a joy to have on your team. An inquisitive SE won’t view the necessary training on your product, service, or marketplace as a chore to be avoided. Instead, they recognize that learning increases their job effectiveness as well as their marketability. This also means that good SEs take an interest in your industry by continually reading trade publications, blogs, applicable Web sites, and by attending conferences. It’s even better if they go the extra mile and establish themselves as domain experts by writing articles, speaking, or blogging.

Training can also play a big part in bringing a new SE up to speed and keeping them current. Sadly, far too many organizations are skimping on this indispensable prerequisite, and it always shows up in the sales cycle: nothing destroys an SE’s credibility faster than being exposed as out-of-date on vital knowledge.

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