Before you start solutioning

Everyone these days seems to rush towards “the solution”, well as someone who now has few years under their belt, I’d advise people slow down a little and think about their business requirements, outcomes, current state, and constraints. Significantly as well think about how a service will run over a period, not just how to buy it and “fling it into production”.

Requirements and Constraints

  • What problem are we trying to solve?
  • What budget is available?
  • What are the timescales required for the procurement, integration, and operation?
  • What is the sourcing strategy?
  • What does the future landscape look like?
  • Who is going to operate this?
  • Is training required for operators?
  • Is end user training required?

This typically should typically align to a sales methodology such as BANT or SCOTSMAN/SPORTSMAN. I say this because requirements and sales often go hand in hand (organisations are usually purchasing a solution).

  • Situation
  • Problem
  • Opportunity
  • Relationships
  • Timescales
  • Solution Fit
  • Money
  • Authority
  • Needs

Now clearly that isn’t enough from a business requirements analysis and customer perspective, however it’s probably not a bad idea to think about how this works from both a customer and supplier perspective if you are the customer (well either way really).

Considerations

When we look at solutions it’s important to understand that they can be abstracted:

  • Supplier Organisation
  • Quality
  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Scalability
  • Cost
  • Resilience
  • Backup & Recoverability
  • Security
  • Training
  • Service Operations
  • Service Levels (SLA, OLA, SLT)
  • Service Integration

This list isn’t exhaustive, and each area will have a range of potential sub areas, however this should at least start to give people an idea for framing. Understanding requirements, the current landscape, the timescales, integration, constraints etc. is important. Often people massively oversimplify this process by asking:

  • What is the best?
  • What solution would you recommend?

Both are typically really not the kind of questions you want to be thinking about, what you want to be doing is making sure you both understand the outcomes required (the DRIVERS and the WHY), the current landscape and then think about the WHO, HOW and WHAT and WHEN.