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Operating Systems

+ - Linux Consultants need Business Sense.

Submitted by
David Koran
David Koran writes "I have been a Linux consultant for over 9 years now. I think it is one of the greatest developments of our time. However, as most will agree, it is not the easiest thing to sell to the CFO, CEO, and VP of any company. The Linux consultants in the world would love to design and administer Linux and not deal with marketing or selling the concept. But we still have to eat, keep the lights on and pay taxes. Many consultants are mystified by the fact that not everyone wants Linux running in their company.

The problem I see, and why Microsoft dominates the OS market, is the connection Linux makes to business. Business is about making money, no doubt about it. Microsoft is about making it easy for businesses to complete those tasks to make money. We as consultants, have to put ourselves in the shoes of the executive or decision makers, that we are trying to sell the concept.

Lets say I am an executive of a 100 employee insurance company. You pop into the door and tell me I should put Linux servers and workstations. Most likely I will show some interest because technology does interest many people who are unfamiliar with it. But I am waiting for that "perceived value", I am the CFO of a major company and I need to find out how this will reduce my expenses and generate more cash flow. I don't want to hear it is more "stable" or "immune" to viruses and hackers. But if you notice my company is using spreadsheets to gather client information, my sales team is collaborating on paper, and you offer a solution to stop all the wasted time, I will start listening. Remember if I am going to the grocery store I could care less what car I am driving , a Ford, Dodge or Toyota, it makes no difference as long as I get the task done. I want to turn the key and go. Of course if you find a shorter way to the grocery store, or even better yet, find a way to bring the grocery store to me, I'm interested!!

Microsoft learned that just selling an OS is not the future, selling the solution is. Want to see an example, go to Google and enter "Linux and Business". Most of the search results are "Taking the Linux Plunge" or "Which distro of Linux is best for your company", Who Cares!! As an executive I could careless which one you use, or your hate for Bill Gates. I am interested in what it will do for my business. I know a guy who complains he can not get a job working with Linux based company or find any clients to contract with, but he spends his time spray painting Ubunto devils on his laptop and spends all night trying to connect his blue tooth phone to Linux. He needs to learn business management, get some corporate experience then come back to Linux.

Linux consultants need to understand business. Linux needs more business development of open source financial, retail, government, and industrial solutions, and be aware of the opportunities like the new Open Document Format standard, what a great place for Linux to take a shot at, especially now that some states will not accept Microsoft file formats. Get the right information together, so they can make a better business decision, thats the name of the game."

Ernest asks Frank how long he has been working for the company. "Ever since they threatened to fire me."

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