I’m a Systems Engineer who specializes in enterprise system design and implementation, but I also spend a considerable amount of time doing technical sales. I work continually with new, complex, innovative products and technologies. I get involved at an early stage in the product lifecycle and I get to participate in the product launch and rollout into the marketplace.
One of the challenges you face with the rollout of emerging technologies is that the level of experience and expertise is initially somewhat limited. It takes time to scale up. There are experts – but it takes a while for the expertise to spread throughout the organization. Everybody is on the front end of the learning curve at first.
Because of that, there is a bit more risk doing system design at this early stage. Experience, while growing, is still limited. Feedback from the field is gathered and analyzed, but it often accumulates slowly. Then, there is the unexpected. Not all of the inevitable surprises are discovered on day one.
So there’s some extra risk to be managed.
An effective way for a technology vendor to address this is through pre-sale solution design reviews. Complex designs at the beginning of the lifecycle need to be reviewed. In my industry, it’s part of a process traditionally known as systems assurance, though it has gone through some name changes over the years.
One key to having an effective design review process is to understand the kinds of issues that emerge from the design reviews. To get the most value from the reviews, you need to constantly improve the process itself. A starting point is to know the kinds of issues that surface in these meetings and the frequency with which they are encountered. You need to know what to expect and to have the methods and tools in place to solve the issues effectively.