Whenever they say “solution” in the IT industry, they imply a system of interdependent software products developed to solve specific customer’s business challenges.
However, there is a tendency to use the terms “solution” and “product” interchangeably, which leaves customers puzzled. What’s important is that this difference affects the way customers think about the work of one or another company and the output of possible cooperation.
An IT services provider’s mission is to make everything super clear.
Is there any difference after all?
One hundred percent yes. In simple words, “solution” is a more generic term, while “product” is used to define something more specific. A product means a good or a service or both depending on the complexity. It has a set of functionalities and a capability of doing something.
Each product usually has the following features:
- Trademark. A product is labeled with a unique name.
- Set of functionalities. The capabilities of a product are predefined and difficult to customize.
- Fixed price. The price of owning a product is set by a provider.
- Competition. A product has to stand comparison with similar products by competitors in the market.
As for the IT industry, customers often equate the term “product” with the term “software”. In fact, IT products are typically enhanced with supplemented services, such as maintenance and support, etc. Goods and services melted into one are more common in the industry.
A solution is a combination of products – or other services – depending on a company’s offer and customer’s requirements. It is the way to apply a product to fulfill customers’ aspirations, solve their business needs, and hit their business goals. For instance, such one-time actions as customization or update fall under the definition of a “solution” despite these and similar actions are close to “product” by essence.
A solution is characterized by the following:
- Incorporation of standard product features. A solution encompasses some most useful features of a standard product and disables any others.
- Customization options. Whatever is the type of customer’s business, a solution fits in.
- Negotiable price. This aspect depends on the initial requirements and the scope of a project.
- Ongoing changes. Rapidly changing business needs and market tendencies don’t make a solution obsolete.
If products can address only current needs, software solutions assist in adjusting business processes to the needs of tomorrow.
What do customers want?
An experienced provider realizes the importance of shifting focus from things that are essential for a company to whatever is valued by clients. It is a sensible approach.
A company’s prime goal is to guarantee that a custom application or a web portal has all the features for success. Although the specifications are vital, customers choose a provider depending on how a solution can supplement their businesses and how this solution makes them feel. It is crucial not to offer customers a product, that is to say, not to emphasize some excellent specifications but provide a complex solution.
That is precisely why we at OCSICO don’t sell, for instance, a fleet management software application as a set of useful functionalities. It is a characteristic. We offer our clients a cost-effective solution to coordinate and maintain the fleet by applying a tech-driven approach.
We don’t sell advanced healthcare software. Our team creates solutions to tackle mission-critical tasks in a particular region in the context of specific health and governmental regulations. And so on and so on.
In tune with customers
It is irrational to expect non-tech savvy clients to go deep into technical details. Customers don’t care about things hard for them to comprehend. They want a provider to take a deep dive into problems, grasp the essence of complicated processes, and suggest the right way for the digital transformation of their businesses.
Offering solutions, not products, a provider does customers a world of good. Clients get solid reasons to be sure that today’s investments in a software solution are the investments in the new opportunities for business that should not be missed.