Aiming for Quality in Technology Investments, Part 1

By James Carlini | Mar 15, 2016
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When you see quality work in any installation, you know it has been done right. For developers, property managers and building owners, there is no better advertisement for your services than to walk through someone else’s building or facility and see a quality job with perfectly wired distribution frames, neat cable runs and point-to-point documentation that triggers the question, “hey, who did that work for you?”

Is your work an expense, or is it an investment to the building owner? More owners are looking at it as an investment because more tenants are looking at intelligent infrastructure (power and network infrastructures) as key intelligent amenities that affect their decision to move into a property or to keep on looking.

You should position your work as an investment and not as an expense. Expenses are viewed as a “cost-of-doing business,” but an investment is viewed as providing a residual value.

“There is no such thing as a new, $5,000 Rolls-Royce. If you want the quality, engineering and performance, you need to pay for it. Good intelligent infrastructure is no different.”

The strategic application of technology to an enterprise needs to have a quality approach from the initial planning stages to the acquisition of materials and systems to the actual implementation, integration and ongoing maintenance.

In today’s technology-driven society, any intelligent infrastructure (power or network services) put into a building should be viewed as an investment, not as an expense. In many organizations, the core business is intertwined with the technology platform supporting it.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is a good example of the core business being tightly intertwined with a supporting technology platform. One of their applications, which supports electronic trading, is critical to their operations and gives them the competitive advantage over their competition.

More executives need to view information and communications technologies as a strategic enabler for competitive advantages for their organization’s strategic initiatives and not just as an expense item.

The procurement of quality—not the cheapest cost

Look at the proven, Carlini RFP and Procurement Methodology approach, which focuses technology procurement beyond price and utilizes 12 different factors of selection criteria (See Chart 1).

All of the factors start with either R, F or P, so they are fairly easy to remember. This approach forces you to expand the selection criteria and look at other key factors, which affect the overall quality of the installation you are working on. This approach should be shared with your customers.

The importance of being measured by your own yardstick

Why is it important for your customer to have this framework? Customers need to get beyond price when it comes to buying technology for their facilities. They have to realize the cheapest cost approach for their selection process is not the right approach. When it comes to installing intelligent infrastructure, which is supposed to support their customers' latest and mission-critical applications, a focus on quality is a much better long-term decision.

By giving them this type of tool, your solution is going to measure up much better than your competition who are relying on cheapest cost to capture the customer’s business. They are not going to measure up on your yardstick. They will always come up short.

If you don’t give the customer this type of yardstick, your competitors might. Believe me, you will never measure up on your competitors’ yardsticks, so take the initiative and educate your customers on why reviewing products and services with this approach is going to get them a much better long-term investment.

With an emphasis on "investment," the image of residual value comes through and not “Well, it’s the cost of doing business when you put the cabling in” attitude.

Just like our Rolls-Royce analogy, remember this as well: “There is no such thing as a Formula 1 Yugo. If all you have is $5,000, you aren’t going to go from 0–60 in 2.4 seconds.”

Let’s continue this discussion in next month’s column.

About The Author

James Carlini, MBA, is a strategist for mission-critical networks, technology and intelligent infrastructure. He has been the president of Carlini & Associates since 1986. He is author of "LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY," a visionary book on the convergence of next-generation real estate, intelligent infrastructure, technology, and the global platform for commerce.

His “Platform for Commerce” definition of infrastructure and its impact on economic growth has also been referred to by the US ARMY Corps of Engineers in their Handbook, “Infrastructure and the Operational Art.” (2014)

His firm has been involved with applying advanced business practices, planning and designing mission critical network infrastructures for three decades.

He served as an award-winning adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University’s Executive Masters and undergraduate programs for two decades (1986-2006).  He has been the keynote speaker at national and international conferences.

He also appears in civil and federal courts as well as public utilities commission hearings as an expert witness in mission critical networks, network infrastructure and cabling issues.

He began his career at Bell Telephone Laboratories (real-time software engineering), AT&T (technical marketing & enterprise-wide network design support for major clients) and Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young, Director of Telecommunications & Computer Hardware consulting).

Contact him at [email protected] or 773-370-1888. Follow daily Carlini-isms at





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