By Vic Levinson
A wise man once told me that the sign of wisdom is knowing what you know and more importantly knowing what you don’t know. In today’s world of information technology, that is a daunting task. New vendors seem to be popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain, with new products, offering new services and forecasting new trends. The final mosaic of our landscape is dynamic — lots of little pieces make one large vision. In order to get a right perspective, we need to boost ourselves up onto a platform of knowledge that is supported by four pillars of wisdom.
One of the first pillars of wisdom is finding a teacher. A teacher can be a mentor. A teacher can be a peer. This should be someone or a group who has the breadth of experience — but doesn’t have an ulterior motive for helping. Groups such as CompTIA or TAG are great places to start. These are professional groups that have the peering and mentoring part down to a science and that offer the educational opportunities to expand your knowledge.
The second pillar of wisdom is knowledge. In order to thrive in a rapidly changing environment, you need to seek knowledge. Specific knowledge needs to be acquired about different aspects of the cloud, about applications and about trends. Some of us understand voice applications while some of us understand data network applications. Some of us understand the different offerings and different providers. None of us understands it all. Everything with an IP address is an application on the network. The entity that understands this best will have control of the network and the most reliable input as to what will be placed on it.
The third pillar of wisdom is to know how to collaborate. Collaboration is the key to dealing with change. If information is stored in separate silos that don’t communicate with each other, then the organization as a whole will suffer. It will miss the opportunities that come with change. The role of the trusted advisor is to enable collaboration within both our own organizations and our clients. As managers, leaders and advisers — we need to be able to collaborate with all of the constituents, stakeholders, vendors and service providers.
The fourth pillar of wisdom is honesty. You have to know what you know and what you don’t know. You cannot present conjecture as fact; you cannot present sales hype as advice or recommendations for best practice. It is an intellectual honesty that is coupled with a sense of moral integrity. It is okay to say “I don’t know — let me find out”. The tools are there to find out the right answers, whether they are on the Business Value Toolbox, CompTIA or other sites. Again, having the right teacher/mentor/group is key. Knowing when to reach out is vital.
In order to succeed in a changing world, you need to have a view of the dynamic landscape. In order to get the right perspective, you need a platform. In order to build a solid platform, you need your four pillars of wisdom.
Founder and president of Prime Telecommunications, Vic Levinson has more than 20 years of industry experience as an interconnect and authorized reseller for Avaya and Allworx, hosted IP telephony solutions connectivity and cloud applications. He has been instrumental in setting up the channel marketing program for SNET Communications, a Chicago-based hosted IP telephony provider. He is also a member of the 2013-14 Channel Partners Advisory Board.