The "I wanna..." trap

Here a few ommon "I wanna..." and "we need a..." statements I hear customers make in requesting a solution from IT or a vendor:

  1. "We need a...Portal" - This does not mean they want SharePoint (or Oracle Portal or IBM Websphere portal).
  2. "I wanna...Blackberry" - This does not mean they want a Blackberry!
  3. "I wanna...iPod" - OK this may actual mean the buyer wants an iPod, but that is not the point I am trying to make here.

I used to live in a city where you would say I need a Coke, to communicate the fact you are thirsty.  In most cases this had nothing to do with wanting a Coca-Cola, it was just another way of saying I want a soda.

Far too often I hear our customer make a request for portal and we (at MS) respond with SharePoint (v2) implementation, only to later find out the customer really wanted an enterprise search solution, simple web site or a content management solution.  The other example is I would like to have a Blackberry, when all your customer wants is e-mail and calendar over the air, this could easily be a Windows Mobile device or another solution.  Point being here is listen to all of what your customer is saying.  When my wife says she wants to Google something that does not mean she wants Google, she just wants to find something on the web.  Wow, the power of good branding, so wonder the marketing people get all the money. 

Far too often we have not delivered the right solution because we do not take the time to listen before forming the answer we just deliver the brand.  I know this is a bit of a rant but I think several people will agree it is true we fall into this trap far too often.  Let's make sure we are delivering the right solution despite which company did the best job at marketing their brand (including Microsoft).