Implement a tiered storage strategy: If you ensure that your systems can cope with various storage tiers, you can save future efforts, money and time. 

There are files everyone uses at the same time, and files that are basically historical data. There are top-of-the-line options that maximize productivity for those very active files, and they are more than worth the investment when compared to the cost of lost time on projects of their scale. The video archive from the 1980s doesn't need to occupy real estate in that system, and less expensive options can be paired with newer technology to give you what you need without throwing money around unnecessarily.

There are two types of wrong in choosing and funding technology for your company, and both are expensive. In the first, the person making the financial decisions doesn't know enough about technology to understand the importance of timely upgrades even though "it isn't broken." This leaves the company less productive than they could be and possibly at risk for a loss of data if the system is allowed to fail, the cost of which adds up quickly. In the second, the person responsible is equally out of their depth, but purchases the most expensive, top-of-the-line everything, just in case. They are prepared for expansion, prepared for emergency, prepared for adventure, and actively using only 35% of their system while paying for 100% of it. Very few people have the resources to be so impressively ignorant, but it does exist.

Here's the part that's not often said out loud--there is very rarely a situation in which the person making the financial decisions truly understands the technology. That's not an insult, it's the result of specialization. The Staff who works with the technology daily has the skill and knows the frustrations they face. Their Supervisor knows the frustrations of dealing with Staff complaints and time-pressure from above. It's generally the Supervisor explaining the need to an Executive, who specializes in high-level reports and cost-analysis, which determines whether or not an investment is made. Even if the Supervisor was once a Staff member, they may have an outdated understanding since the days when they were more hands-on, and regardless of the Supervisor's level of expertise, the Executive they must appeal to generally fits into one of the above categories. None of us would want to do the executive reports, they went to school for something other than technology, and all of us should imagine what it must be like to be constantly asked to understand departments that are not our own before we roll our eyes too hard. It's a tough gig, but that's why they make the big bucks, and until we've walked a mile in their Italian leather shoes, we can't judge. 

That's why Engineers exist. Invest in a relationship you can trust, then listen to their advice. That truly is the least expensive option.

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