Losing sight of the mission

One of my favorite websites is the one for the fabled Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). If you want unvarnished, un-embellished, and unadulterated leading-edge information about some element of science, this is the place to look.  A recently published article called dueling algorithms described how two fictional software companies fought to see who could produce the most effective algorithm. The moral of the story is they lost sight of their mission, to meet the needs of their customer.  The exercise morphed into a battle to see who could best the other, a battle that through great effort shunted the customer to the sidelines and resulted in diminished returns. 

Having been on both sides of the customer and vendor equation, I can say that feature/function leap-frogging is usually a silly game.  If one company has a clear advantage in that regard, it is only true for a brief period of time. Many times (as a vendor) we tried to pitch our feature advantage and sometimes it sounded impressive; we were all sold on the notion that the customer could really gain an edge by selecting our solution.  But the truth is, when we won, we won not only by convincing the customer our solution met their needs but that we would be there to help get the thing up and running and to support them onwards. Given similar relative technical capabilities between solutions of two software companies, the important and lasting differentiator for the winning vendor should be the ability of its front-line staff (sales and support) to make personal connections with customers and convey a high level of trust.  How does one do that?  There’s no escaping the conclusion that the old-fashioned method of employing a highly credible and respectful communications style works best.  People essentially want to be treated well, not with special favors (because they can be seen through and they often sour) or showmanship (because the ego is too apparent), but with honesty, consistency, and the belief that their needs are front and center.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: