Converting Bells and Whistles to Dollars and Cents
Early in my career I presented a solution to Contoso – a maker of widgets for a new technology that was recently released. I went through all the new features that Contoso could begin to use and all the benefits they would receive by putting this solution into place. My client was very patient and listened to each and every “reason” that I had presented. At the end of my presentation, he thanked me but said he had one – and only one – question. His question was “How does this solution allow me to sell more widgets or how does the solution cut my costs to produce the widgets? With his one question, I realized I had failed to present the solution correctly.
It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles a new technology will provide a company. The bells and whistles are the things that we, “techies” focus on. What matters most to the client is how the new technology will make the company more efficient – how will the technology help them to cut costs or to produce more. The lesson I learned that day is that the bells and whistles are what make new technology exciting but as an architect of technology solutions I have to be able to convert those bells and whistles into dollars and cents for my clients. When we can accomplish that, then we have a solution that truly meets our clients’ needs.
Luckily, I had a very patient client and I was able to show him the business value of the solution we had presented. I learned a valuable lesson that day and have applied it ever since. When I present a solution to a client I focus first on what the business need is and how the solution meets that need.
-Jacob Eker, PEI