Should You Choose a Product or a Solution?


In the early days of computing, companies would take "Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS)" products and create solutions to address specific problems found in operating their business. There was an important distinction made between products and solutions. Sometimes they were the same, although most often they were not.


Products provided a set of core capabilities such as: a database, a document repository, or business logic often in the form of workflows. Solution providers would take these components and design applications to meet their customer's requirements. This approach was widely used for compliance processes for many years. Solutions required integration of data and capabilities that could address the entire scope of the problem. This often created the tension between choosing a "Best of Breed" and "Best Integrated" offering sometimes called product suites.

"Best of Breed" products delivered best in class functionality at the expense of providing more comprehensive set of capabilities.

"Best Integrated" products focused on delivering broader capabilities that where either well connected or could be connected together more easily. In today's world, the number of applications is numerous and the technologies mystifying. Deciding what apps to use or what services to subscribe to can be daunting. For those who use cloud services will know it is not ideal or even effective to have dozens of subscription services working in isolation and not working together. Choosing between products and solutions is still an important consideration today as it was in previous years. Instead, of choosing from among various COTS products, companies are choosing between "Killer Apps" and "Killer Platforms." In many ways, organizations are facing the same issues they did years ago although the vocabulary and technologies have changed.

Plan-Do-Check-Act Questions:

  1. Does your company treat products and solutions as the same and what impact has this had on the effectiveness of the information technologies you use?

  2. In what ways has the implementation of partial solutions hindered your compliance processes?

  3. In what ways can the strategic use of "Killer Apps" help advance compliance?

  4. What opportunities do you see might improve the solutions you use each day?

  5. What is the next target condition for improving a solution you use most?

#Solutions #ComplianceSolutions

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