For many years, software companies have worked around the premise that their software induces “services revenue”.
We might observe that the Services component of any solution is derived through discussing the Customer’s business problems. Thus, we might see this as a chicken or egg problem, Software is a chicken and Services are the egg.
Customers are quite clear that their business problem comes first…find them a solution and they could care less what the software is called…it will do “stuff” and configuration and training will be required.
Extrapolating the chicken and egg idea (for the fun of it), we might look at what we feed the chicken and how we keep it safe with fox-proof fencing…otherwise, no more chickens, no more eggs. The Solution must be compatible with the Customer’s IT Infrastructure, resilient and future proofed. It probably needs to integrate with the Customer’s core systems to provide an effective solution and not merely solve one small part of the problem.
Customers often seek solutions from existing suppliers, with whom they have built a relationship of trust over many years and several projects. Companies like ORACLE led the way setting up their Education division when they noticed that is was often the case that a Customer already owned the software to solve their business problem, but lacked the “know-how”. What could delight a Customer more than the opening statement “Actually, you already own this software,” followed by “we just need to configure it, do a bit of integration and train the users…”
In the case of software that is already owned, is this the equivalent of incubating the eggs properly? And can we draw a parallel between integration with external systems and good exercise we offer free range chickens…?
As I said, just for the fun of it…
- Business Problem = Egg
- Software = Chicken
- Environment = Installation
- Tomorrow’s Environment = Incremental development and support
- Feed = Consultancy
- Incubating eggs = User Training
- Integration = Free Range living
- Fox-Proof fencing = Project Management
…and I still cannot answer the question, except to say that from a Customer’s point of view, the problem comes first.