Seeing the wood from the trees!

In my business I get to meet many business owners, from all industries and services. Whether they are IT focused, plumbers, builders, accountants or even schools - Each one has their own needs, their own pain points and their own requirements for their business.

The Conversation

Last week I met with a new contact. He was the business owner and was interested in how Apptimi could help him work better. To help him in the discussion he brought along an IT contractor who "spoke my language". The conversation that followed was interesting:

The IT pro started first:

Q1: Doe's it have an API?
Q2: Doe's it export in XML?
Q3: If so what standard?

Next was the Business owner

Q1: Will I need to train my staff
Q2: Will I need to spend more on IT integration?
Q3: Will it export to Excel and Sage?

The Lesson Learned

What struck me (once again) was the completely different perspectives on what was required. For the developer it was all about this standard and that standard, or about extending it to do other functions. He was looking at our products as a starting point and was already looking to extend and add in additional functionality. He was looking to start more development even before the system was even launched internally.

For the business owner it was can he get it installed and running now and will it work with his existing apps. He was looking for a solution for his needs now and how it would make his life easier today.  He was looking for something to make his business more productive today.

If the business owner wasn't present at the meeting what would have been the feedback from the IT guy about the suitability of the product?  Would we have been excluded because we didn't make his needs in the future? It was an interesting thought.

Seeing the Wood... from the trees

As technologists we are very at ease with technology. We are very comfortable with the vast number of different platforms, standards and where the technology business is going. We are also regularly in contact with other developers and other IT companies, and as a result we get lots of input on our tools and where we should be focusing. We also have our likes and dislikes and love passing our advice and knowledge onto others. Me included!

This can be a death sentence to any business. While I love talking to my fellow technologists and hearing what they are working on, what's important to them is not necessarily important to our customers. Relying on reviews or input from your own circle of industry experts can lead you in the completely wrong direction and take away your focus.

For the Business Owner

As a business owner you should take time to ensure your needs are being addressed and while IT professionals are great and their advice can be indispensable, it sometimes pays to ask the basic questions. Believe it or not but you know most about your business and what it needs today.

Developers - Staying close to the Coalface

The business owner is the person at the coalface. They are the people who work away each day to make their business happen and It is their pain points we need to be addressing and where we put our focus and our efforts. As developers and IT professionals we need to put ourselves into the shoes of the business owner and help figure out what's really needed, not what we would like to be working on.

On to the next conversation!


  1. I think much should be done to protect one another. Our life status should not raise us or drop us to no standards. We must stand in others shoes once in a while.

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