Chief Technology Officer
  • Technology
All I want for the holidays this year is an outcome!  As an engineer at heart I love the technical details of a product or a solution.  But a long time ago I realized that the outcome—solving the business problem—was much more important than the technical specifications.

Why Technical Specifications Do Not Matter
Technical specifications don’t matter if they don’t help solve the problem. The business problem has to be the focus of any solution that we build. Years ago when I was new to the industry I designed a great system.  When I presented it to my boss he chuckled and told me something that has stuck with me for years, “This is a great system, but it is a Ferrari on a go cart track.” He went on to explain that where this system was no doubt fast and much better that the system that we had, it did not solve the problem that we had.  Just as the Ferrari was overpowered and too big to get around a go cart track, my proposed system did not solve the business needs or answer the problem.

Understand the Issues
In today’s rapidly evolving IT environment—with new tools and “toys” being developed every day—it becomes more and more important to understand the issues that you have or the business problems that you are trying to solve.  Every week I hear a presentation or pitch on a new product, and so often the focus is on the speeds and feeds…not on the business problem.  “I need a faster or bigger widget” is not a business problem.  It is a symptom, not a cure.  Define your problem before looking for a solution.  If you have a solution that is not working, assess the situation first and understand the root of the problem.  Then determine what options exist, if any.

When presenting a solution, turn your attention to the outcomes first by speaking to the business problem and how you intend to solve it.  If you are presenting a solution and you do not know the specific problem, you may need to talk in terms of more general outcomes to gauge the interest of your audience.  

What Do YOU Want for the Holidays?
Think about the outcome you are looking for this holiday season, whether you are looking for a solution or you are selling one. Understand the value proposition first, not the technical specifications.  Often times it is easy to be captivated by the technical specs, but like the Ferrari on the go cart track, it may not prove to be the best solution.

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