Where else has this worked? Technocrat’s common question

If you are a consultant who is not afraid of knocking on doors, you have probably had to deal with technocrats who ask questions

If you are a consultant who is not afraid of knocking on doors, you have probably had to deal with technocrats who ask questions like: “where else has this worked?” Such people are allergic to new thinking. They are comfortable with the status quo. With old ways of doing things. With tools and solutions that are already working elsewhere.

In the past, I dreaded such a question.

The nature of our work as a strategy, cybersecurity, and risk management consultants, means that the majority of the projects, if not all, we are not allowed to disclose that we provided the service for the clients, not even showing the contract or summarizing the experience in our company profile. Everything must be stated in generic terms but not specifics.

One time we offered a software solution to a global bank, but they asked us not to indicate them in our profile as our client. It is like a boy from a rich family loving a poor girl but warning her against identifying with him.  They enjoy a good time, but she cannot move out with him nor tell friends about her boyfriend. She enjoys the company, but cannot leverage from it! Usually, the consideration is good payment as a consideration for the restrictions. When you are just starting, you accept any conditions because you want to gain professional confidence that you can do it.

These international company staffers told us that competitive advantage is derived from the solutions and services we deploy. If you go telling everyone, our competitors could ask you to deploy exactly as you have done. We do not want such a thing to happen. However, if they decide on their own to work with your firm, and you do not disclose to them what you did for us, they may not optimize their processes like ours. By the time they do, we shall be far!

It made sense.

In this market where most technocrats only attended the classes of benchmarking and copy cut, how do you convince them that your solution is good without an array of references where it has worked? It is always a puzzle.

How I respond

When I am asked, where else have you implemented this software, I usually first ask: why do you want to know? If they say, to know whether there are no bugs or so that we can benchmark and see how it is working, I usually reply that:

“how do you expect to be innovative and win if you only implement a solution which is already working somewhere? Why don’t you assess the solution’s ability to transform your business and take it on that?”

Of course, I know the procurement rules set conditions that are anti-innovations but is neo-colonialism for you. The technocrats must be able to assess projects independently. That means they invest more in research and development and strategic thinking.

You cannot be unique if you must do only things that have been deployed elsewhere. You have to be ahead. To embrace the blue ocean mentality. Otherwise, always having to benchmark means you will be a follower, not a leader.

Take note of this point.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

Where else has this worked? Technaaocrat’s common question

If you are a consultant who is not afraid of knocking on doors, you have probably had to deal with technocrats who ask questions like: “where else has this worked?” Such people are allergic to new thinking. They are comfortable with the status quo. With old ways of doing things. With tools and solutions that are already working elsewhere.

In the past, I dreaded such a question.

The nature of our work as a strategy, cybersecurity, and risk management consultants, means that the majority of the projects, if not all, we are not allowed to disclose that we provided the service for the clients, not even showing the contract or summarizing the experience in our company profile. Everything must be stated in generic terms but not specifics.

One time we offered a software solution to a global bank, but they asked us not to indicate them in our profile as our client. It is like a boy from a rich family loving a poor girl but warning her against identifying with him.  They enjoy a good time, but she cannot move out with him nor tell friends about her boyfriend. She enjoys the company, but cannot leverage from it! Usually, the consideration is good payment as a consideration for the restrictions. When you are just starting, you accept any conditions because you want to gain professional confidence that you can do it.

These international company staffers told us that competitive advantage is derived from the solutions and services we deploy. If you go telling everyone, our competitors could ask you to deploy exactly as you have done. We do not want such a thing to happen. However, if they decide on their own to work with your firm, and you do not disclose to them what you did for us, they may not optimize their processes like ours. By the time they do, we shall be far!

It made sense.

In this market where most technocrats only attended the classes of benchmarking and copy cut, how do you convince them that your solution is good without an array of references where it has worked? It is always a puzzle.

How I respond

When I am asked, where else have you implemented this software, I usually first ask: why do you want to know? If they say, to know whether there are no bugs or so that we can benchmark and see how it is working, I usually reply that:

“how do you expect to be innovative and win if you only implement a solution which is already working somewhere? Why don’t you assess the solution’s ability to transform your business and take it on that?”

Of course, I know the procurement rules set conditions that are anti-innovations but is neo-colonialism for you. The technocrats must be able to assess projects independently. That means they invest more in research and development and strategic thinking.

You cannot be unique if you must do only things that have been deployed elsewhere. You have to be ahead. To embrace the blue ocean mentality. Otherwise, always having to benchmark means you will be a follower, not a leader.

Take note of this point.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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