It’s always been an issue in the Information Technology industry to explain your solution in layperson’s terms. Some companies can do it, others can’t or don’t bother. Even if you think your target market can understand your definition, there is always someone in the information stream or purchase cycle who can’t relate the technology to business benefits without a clear explanation of your solution. That could be the financial decision maker in your prospect’s company. Or it could be one of your warehouse workers who happens to know the owner of a company looking for a solution like yours.
In my opinion, everyone in your firm should be able to tell outsiders what you do, in a way that’s simple and easy to understand. If you can get simplistic with your messaging, you can then modify it to suit the appropriate audience.
It’s also a good exercise to try several variations, and test them on employees or even good customers. It really makes you think about what you do, and how much of it people do understand.
Let’s take Software as a Service (SaaS) for example. Many companies are now offering their solution over the cloud. There are two elements to the offering: the cloud itself, and your solution. So let’s try to define Cloud Computing.
IBM defines it as “Cloud computing, often referred to as simply “the cloud,” is the delivery of on-demand computing resources—everything from applications to data centers—over the Internet on a pay-for-use basis.”
There’s a good description of it at How Stuff Works, but it’s certainly not one sentence.
In one sentence, here’s what I’ve come up with:
With Cloud Computing, a company (and its employees or customers) use a PC (or tablet, smartphone, terminal etc.) and the Internet to rent hardware and software applications they would otherwise need to buy and install in their facility.
Put another way…
Cloud Computing is a pay for use service that allows customers to access the technology tools they need to run their business over the Internet, instead of buying, installing and maintaining the computer hardware and software themselves.
Next, we’d need to establish what the benefit of this is:
Cloud Computing means the costs and risks associated with owning and maintaining computer hardware and software is moved to the owner of the cloud service, which results in lower capital and operating costs for the customer.
Do you agree or disagree with these definitions? Could they be a bit simpler? Definitely. Do they need to? Depends on the recipient of the information.
My point is this: you need to spend some serious time to ensure that you clearly define what your solution is, and what the benefits are. And you need to do it in language that’s suited to the person you’re speaking to.
Want me to take a crack at your solution? Challenge me! I can be reached at 905-439-9340, or firstname.lastname@example.org.