Written by: David Allara
When you hire a professional in any field, what are you hiring them for? To simply take your order based on the instructions you give them? Or do you hire them for their unique experience and expertise? I am guessing for most of you it is the latter. You are not the expert, and you don’t truly know what you need. You don’t know what you don’t know. Am I right?
In the field of professional AVT and ICT technology, the above has never been more true. Products and technologies are constantly changing and it is simply not possible to stay on top in this industry unless it happens to be your career and passion. So often I start a technology consulting project with a customer and at the very first meeting they launch into telling me all the things they need. There is almost always a focus on specific products or solutions that they are convinced are fundamental for their organisation.
It is also at this first meeting that many excited technology designers will immediately dive into “order taking mode” and take direction from the customer. There is great enthusiasm from both parties, and it seems like everything is going so well. The designer is already thinking about how to design the solutions, and the customer is so happy to be getting all this new and important technology. What could go wrong?
Unfortunately, a great deal can and does go wrong.
Neither party realises that they have skipped some extremely important steps.
This “order taking” approach is flawed and leads to the wrong solution for the customer almost every time.
No needs analysis or discovery with the customer has been undertaken.
Let’s take a quick look at a situation that we can all relate to. When you go to the doctor, do you tell him or her what you need or want? Sometimes. A good doctor will listen to what you have to say, and then dig deeper. Most of the time when you consult with your doctor you discuss a particular problem or symptom you are experiencing, and your expectation is that the doctor will be able to provide a solution. In order to do this effectively the doctor will draw on their experience and ask you a series of key questions. At the end of the consult, in most cases, the doctor’s advice and solution to your specific problem is likely quite different to what you thought it was. Sound familiar?
So, turning our attention back to AVT and ICT technology.
Working with a customer on their AVT and ICT technology requirements is no different to the doctor consult example. A seasoned “AVT and ICT Expert” aims to find out as much as possible about the customer's situation. What are their current problems? What do they really require from their technology solutions today, and in the near future? It is crucial to understand the business requirements of the organisation. How does the type of technology, and the way it is used, directly affect the business? What do the people (internal and external) really need from the technology? What does the organisation want the experience with the technology to be for their people?
So many questions.
An “Order Taker” will provide a customer with something that they do not actually need. A seasoned “AVT and ICT Expert” spends a great deal of time getting to know the customer, their people, their organisation, and their true needs.
Armed with the truth, the expert will always provide the customer with exactly what they need.
Choose to work with a seasoned AVT and ICT expert.