I read a story the other day that as usual, inspired some ideas for this blog post. I don’t mean this as a totally shameless plug, but one of the things that makes my company so unique is that we have a very balanced view of the solutions that we implement.
What I mean by “balanced view” is that we always look at the problem or business need and build the solution, not just to fix the problem or address the need, but to seamlessly “flow” into the other activities of the business. I know, it sounds like a lot of marketing crap, so let me try to recite the story for you:
A man was walking past a building site when he saw a couple of workers breaking granite. He walked over to them and asked one worker, “What are you doing?” and the guy replied “I’m trying to break this granite.” So he goes to the other one and asks the same question. The second guy, however replied “I’m on a team of people and we’re building a cathedral.”
The point I am trying to make is that to the common development firm, technology solutions are a commodity. It’s a couple dozen lines of code spit out that accomplishes the task they are given. In other words, they’re just breaking the granite – without any regard to how the granite fits into the overall plan for the cathedral.
Is that they guy you want creating your solution? One that can’t see past the task at hand? Maybe you would – but personally, I like the idea of the second guy. He has the bigger picture in mind. He’s a team member – not a consultant, not a vendor – but a true partner. He’s an expert that looks at the overall plans of the cathedral and not only breaks the granite for you – but will also help you decide whether you need Biotite-granite, Hornblende-granite or Tourmaline-granite. He will explain to you the diffences in composition and color and match them up with the colors you’re putting on your walls, etc. You get the idea.
Just as hiring a granite expert gives you the perfect granite for your construction job, a good solution architect will look at your overall systems strategy (and if you don’t have one, will recommend you get one!) and develop the solution that is best for your business – over and above the task at hand. Besides, what good is a system that you have to go out of your way to use? How satisfied do you think you will be with a “solution” that automates one function but creates 3 more manual processes in it’s wake?
I know, a lot of people don’t think about that kind of stuff. Fortunately for you though, I do. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t always – Believe me, I have learned plenty from that school of hard knocks – that’s why experience so important in this field.
As usual, thanks for your time.