The BIG demo!

I usually do not post my work related stuff. However, this one deserves a post!

Over the last couple of weeks, I got an opportunity to be a part of a demo, whose scale dwarfs all the projects I’ve been so far associated with (barring one during the early stage of my career). And the client was none other than the Indian Air Force!

My role in the entire solution was quite limited, so I got an opportunity to observe and understand what goes behind the scenes in such high net worth, high risk bids. The proposed solution spanned across various aspects of operations where a software solution could fit in. It involved security, document management, learning and knowledge management, ERP, content management and what not. Of course it involved more than one vendor coming together and propose the solution. While it was a very tensed and hectic two weeks, it was a great learning experience for me. Before I share those, I’ve come up with an analogy to explain the sitution.

What I observed was the fact that people had built great rooms with all amenities one could think of, but the rooms were never put together to build the house.

What I mean is that all modules were impressive and functional standalone, but when integrated, resulted in an enterprise disaster. At times, no one had a clue what was going along.

Moving ahead, I noticed that the most impressive demonstrations were not where we were trying to showcase the product, but those where we demonstrated how would the software solve the problem. The reviewers were not interested in what the software could do, they were more interested in how it would reduce their burden and improve efficiency. Even a very basic product with minimal features could win over a complicated one if it addresses the problem effectively.

I’ve realized this earlier as well. Some big products in the market have become so established that they *drive* the clients adopt to their implementation. While most organizations wouldn’t mind doing so, there are some who would not spare!

Lastly, I would like to mention that after this demo, I’ve developed a great respect for the Indian Air Force. These guys know *exactly* what they require. You just couldn’t convince them to succumb to the product’s hi-fi features which was worthless to them. They had a very clear picture of the final outcome.

I met some very talented people during the course of presentations and learnt a lot of things in the power packed two weeks.

Looking forward for more such opportunities!

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Amit Srivastava

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