It’s About the Business, You – The “Wow” Factor (Part 1)

You’ll note that while I had the opportunity, I resisted the temptation to borrow from the Clinton-for-President first-term slogan, adding the word “stupid”. I don’t consider readers (especially of this stuff) stupid.

I don’t consider technical people stupid. Sometimes we can be too focused, though. I don’t consider business or product people stupid, either. Sometimes we can be too set in the status quo of business operations.

One of my favorite things to say in life and work: “we all have our gifts”. Combining our gifts leads to successes. Hence, no one is “stupid”; we can all make a contribution.

The use of the trailing “stupid” in the original quote was uttered as an insult and later became the motivation for the staff running the Clinton campaign. I used it because it was an attention-grabber, and in a way, lets me crystallize your attention on the real content of this article series.

I say this a lot too: software development is not the solution to a business problem. Yes, software can contribute to business solutions; including task automation, security, integration across boundaries and the like. However, software, platforms and developers don’t solve business problems by themselves. It is the careful design and orchestration of business assets, applications, processes and users that solve business problems.

I’m also fond of saying that it is of critical importance that those involved in the software development process demonstrate business value (i.e., ROI) to our business owners; these are the folks who buy us these wonderful tools and toys that stock the playgrounds in which we work every day. Do developers get this? I think they do most of the time, but definitely not all the time.

Let me ask this question: Is it easier to get a developer or a business owner to say “wow”?

The answer: Developers, by a long shot. It’s not that we’re all that easily impressed, or simple, or anything the least bit negative. It’s also not that business owners are difficult to impress: there are just different factors that activate our “wow reflex”. Most developers get this, I think.

So, what is the “wow” factor? A developer can prototype a developer “wow” somewhere between minutes or hours. Some “wow” candidates are available for download in seconds. It takes a village (okay, now I’m teasing), that is, a team of developers a number of days to prototype a business owner “wow”.

Two things to note:

  • The business owner “wow” at the prototype stage may be more like “hmm”.
  • To get this “hmm” will likely include multiple projects, integration with back-end systems, a fair amount of research and a small amount of pain.

The real business owner “wow” comes when a system is fully designed, built and integrated with other business systems. This can take weeks, months or years from concept to completion, and requires the ongoing support from the business owners for the project.

Next: Questions developers and business owners need to ask themselves in improving communication and uncovering the “wow” factor.

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

2 Responses to It’s About the Business, You – The “Wow” Factor (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Competition: Watching the Perimeter « OpsanBlog

  2. Pingback: Sustained Innovation: Corporate Culture is da Bomb « OpsanBlog

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