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How Confident Are You In Your Solution?

By Jonathan Bingham | September 25, 2014

How Confident Are You In Your Solution? Don’t Get Caught Off Guard.

Janeiro Digital solves the problems that keep you up at night. The ones that are so instrumental to the success of your organization that you must succeed in solving them. These are opportunities for organizations to really fall in love with a vendor. But sometimes the love affair is over as soon as it began.

There is a key risk when buy cycles end and project kickoffs collide. Was the sales person better than the team tasked with getting projects to successful outcomes? This dependence on a successful outcome is where careers can flourish or implode. Successful projects can help organizations leap frog the competition, or conversely can cause lost months or even years of positive momentum. We’ve all been there. And we all learn with each notch on the belt, no matter how painful that lesson may have been. But how can we avoid it? How can we mitigate the risk of rushing into a project without a solid understanding of the plausible outcome? How can an organization try before it buys without losing time and momentum?

We operate in a very scientific fashion. Once we have gone through the pressing business problems and formulated hypotheses for solutions, we put them to the test. It’s a key part of our engagements. It maximizes successful outcomes and minimizes unexpected and surprising ones. This is everything from workflows, data models, applications, people and required output and interactions. If we are able to work with clients to research what is viable and what expected outcomes can be IN ADVANCE of designing and developing solutions, everyone wins. The outcomes are much more likely to address the business need the teams – both internal and external together – were called in to address.

So why don’t firms all employ this approach? There are a host of reasons. Here are a couple of big ones to watch out for.

1. Everyone wants to get the big deal closed. No better time then while the problem is burning hot in the client or prospect’s mind. This is where sales people are trained, literally, to take advantage of a situation. That’s a bit scary. Savvy buyers will likely navigate this well, but all too many are bitten by the proverbial snake.

2. The vendor has more confidence in the pitch than their ability to execute. Fake it ‘til you make it. Yikes. Firms will circle the wagons internally and figure out the best way to cobble together a solution that can address the issue. It can be weeks or months before you ferret out the lack of competency.

3. The business environment may have changed between the times that you initiated the buy cycle, heard the sales pitch and proposed solution, and actually kick-off work. The original solution pitched may not be as relevant anymore, or maybe other units of the business may have complicated the potential solution by adding in their own systems or problems. All of this needs to be revisited and tested out against the current environment. Any organization that doesn’t revisit its proposed solution again once the work is awarded is introducing a lot of risk.

Larry Ellison said at the start of Oracle, “an unhappy customer is better than a prospect,” meaning sales executives are incented to get the deal closed. References somewhat help. But you never know how relevant that experience will be to your needs. Plus who gives out names of bad references? Experience certainly helps, but it’s not always the defining factor. Each initiative requires the right PLAN. In a traditional proposal process you are typically getting the right IDEA. Too much risk. And too many opportunities for missed expectations. Taking the plan to a level that defines specific approaches, risk factors and a solution protects the client AND the vendor. Firms that are pushing for a decision before that risk reduction takes place may be more focused on the deal than the relationship.

At the end of the day, the organizations that contract with clients to FIRST provide sound solutions based on detailed research that has been thoroughly analyzed and presented will reduce risk and increase the likelihood of successful engagements. That’s a fact.

Ask your vendor next time, “HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU IN YOUR SOLUTION?” Then ask them to prove it.

Jonathan Bingham


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