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(Click on any of the stages to see major factors contributing to success at each stage.)

This is how actual Buyers (Customers and Users) see the process of finding IT solutions for their organizations.  No wonder the process is so inefficient. Learn where the two overlap and how to effectively influence each other at every step.

Start with understanding what the world of the customer is like, what they do, how they do it, what keeps them up nights, what makes their lives and careers better, then help them do it.  Looking at what you do from the new knowledge of the POV of the customer, is often embarassing.  Do it anyway.  You'll get over it and do more effective work.

The great missing opportunity:
Stages I thru III lasts for months.  Stage IV is the repetitive use of the solution, usually measured over a period of years.  Smart sellers embrace the customer during this period to build long relationships.  But most sellers build barriers often automated and hide from customers, only to pop out when its time to sell again.  A great opportunity lost to converse and discuss between customers and sellers, to make each other better.  Understand the BuyerPOV and act on it.

Touch Points Must Build Relationships:
Successful vendors build strong relationships working with customers in all stages.  Look at the list of 'touch points' put out by most companies and note if the Product/Service provided by the company is listed.  Often it's not.  Make sure Products and Services are seen as touch points.

The Game Changes All the Time:
For example, before 2001, software customers accepted vendor claims and promises more readily, bought them then found problems, increased costs, major inadaqucies leading to dropped projects, lawsuits, etc.  As a result, major changes were made to Solution Cycle Phases for software products, including proof of concept, pilot projects, tight ROI requirements and up front proof, reduced project size, etc.

Reality Check:
We profoundly thank the 512 IT people who helped develop this IT Solution Cycle so that it generally describes the IT process about 75% of the time in real organizations. This is meant to describe how IT actually works much of the time, not just how it should work. It is dynamic and will change further. The IT Solution Cycle is an application of Michael F Kelly's Solution Cycle to IT.