Cloud Computing: Be agile and productive when scaling

Check out this video from RightScale by Michael Crandell, CEO and Founder of RightScale. You will learn about Cloud Computing on the cost and schedule fronts. These guys do get it right and I am definitely recommending them. Hey, he also talks about use cases for the Cloud!

Presenting solutions supporting business needs to business

This is also available as a PDF on philippeback.eu There are lots of quick wins that are achievable by using today’s freely available technology. For example, there are FOSS (Free Open Source Software) technological solutions that can bring a lot of value to businesses at very low operational costs. In today’s so-called « crisis », moving away from CAPEX (Captial Expenses) to OPEX (Operational Expenses) is a good thing. No more upfront large investment, just seize the opportunity and keep the solution enabling its capture alive as long as needed. But there is a challenge when it comes to convey the benefits of such solutions to the business people. Case in point, there is are very nice CMSes (Content Management Systems), Blog Engines, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Systems, DMS (Document Management Systems) but it may appear like it takes forever for an organization to consider, let’s not even talk about implementing them.

So you tought you were heard…

I was talking the other day with a senior Sales Executive for a major integrator firm just back from a technical conference. He told me that the presenter got a lot of applause for his performance. When I asked about what people understood from the message, he told me that people had no clue of what it was really about. The crowd was just pleased to listen to the presenter (a big name in the industry). Maybe nobody wanted to look like a fool and faked understanding. Obviously, sales are not really going to occur from there.

So, talking « tech » to business people is not going to cut it. How then can we convey the fact that the solution is indeed matching business needs? As people may nod giving a false sense of understanding, we need to attack the issue from another angle. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the business person. The business person is going to think in terms of business outcomes. He is not interested in systems per se. These systems are going to be enablers or roadblocks towards achieving these outcomes. So we must focus on how business needs are met. Answers must be provided to the following questions : Why? So what? What’s in it for me? How is the business better off? What’s the ROI to be expected? Is there a roadmap to get there? What about getting people excited about this? Can you show it to me? Where is the picture drawn at 30,000 feet? Unless the features of the solutions are mappable to answers to these questions, there is no hope in getting buy-in. So, key advice:
  1. establish a list of key business targets that are being part of the identified business opportunity
  2. articulate the key advantages of the solution in business terms
  3. articulate answers to « What’s in for me as a <BusinessUserType> ? »
  4. draw a roadmap of the key elements of the actions targetting the opportunity along with milestones aligned on quarters
  5. articulate how the solution acts as an accelerator for achieving the outcome
  6. explain how the needs are met by the solution
  7. have a revenue model that shows how benefits are accrued over time
  8. explain how people will be brought onboard when it comes to using the solution!
Having these elements in place will definitely improve the positioning of the solution provider as a partner with business acumen worth talking to. © 2009 by Ir Philippe Back, All Rights Reserved