Ever noticed that while doing a pilot or POC people can’t wait to start exploring the product on their own. They’re usually trying to reproduce their way of solving problems with the new product. But what happens when the new product is taking a completely different approach?
As a new sales engineer at Corvil sitting in on a lot of POCs (proof of concept) meetings and customers calls, I started to notice some very familiar things. Chiefly, participants can’t wait to start exploring the product on their own. They want to cut through the product overviews and start pressing all the buttons to see what they do and get a real, hands-on experience.
One problem with jumping into a product before the full explanation and walkthrough is if users run into trouble, they tend to assume that the problem is with the product - and not with how they are using the product. Frequently, this is because they are trying to reproduce their old way of solving problems with the new product. This is especially a problem when the new product takes a completely new approach, instead of just being an incremental improvement in how thing are traditionally done.
Because of this, vendors are changing their approach to increase monitoring. We’re building in a lot more automation into how packets are captured and analysis is conducted, enabling dashboards to display the results that would have been only visualized in someone’s head. Basically we are working to help customers take the lazy way out of dealing with their problems.
But I also see that people (regardless of their title or the product they are trying out) are very slow to adopt and change the way they are using the new technologies and techniques. Part of this is habitual: comfort zone and lack of trust. As an example, consider driverless cars. At this point, I would never get into one of those. The trust isn’t there right now. But after several other people have used it, I might try it. However, just one crash and I’ll be lost as a customer forever. This is why I think that one of the biggest things that I can do for customers is making sure that the change we’re proposing is solid.
This means solid in terms of the new technology – that it is stable, that the data being provided is accurate, that it actually can deliver a simplified process for the customer. And solid in terms of teaching people how to use the technology. Solutions offering a new, simplified approach mean that how you do the job will change. I hear network engineers ask about drilling down into the packets as the first step in their troubleshooting process. This is an example of using a new tool in the old way. Instead, the new way should reduce the amount of problems that you necessitate going down to the packets to solve, and reduce the number of times you have to defend the network.
If we take the time to show people how using this new way is dramatically better for employees, and the organization as a whole, they resist the urge to go back to the old way way of doing things. But if they don’t see the dramatic benefits the technology can enable, it will reinforce the same doubts and distrust that they had in the beginning.