- Denis, no need. We will not make concessions in terms of time and quality, reputation is more expensive.
- Nice try, but no.
Denis had a difficult time in B2B services after 15 years in product IT companies... He sincerely did not understand how a decision could be made for three months. Time after time, he wanted to spark the slow negotiation process. But the CEO somehow guessed about his intentions and stopped him in time.
The reputation of her company was important to her. She said something about internal corporate policy, customer awareness, responsibility.
He wanted to work, create products and solutions - he saw the deplorable state of IT systems in the corporate sector, saw the direct consequences on end users and wanted to help. But the feeling of tied hands did not leave him from the first day - every step must be asserted, the interests of all parties must be taken into account and waiting - an endless gimmick of incomplete decisions, incomprehensible hints, unsaid interests.
When a large client from transport logistics approached the company, he was at first delighted - in logistics, delays threaten with direct financial losses. But he soon became disillusioned: the negotiation process had been going on for the fourth month, with varying success. Even in spite of a small pilot project for the client's IT department, to whom Denis provided a significant competitive advantage. But when it came to the decision to develop an integrated management system, the process stopped - top management did not want to take such risks.
Risks and doubts
“The project is long-term and will cost us millions of dollars. All processes are interconnected, we will not be able to start step by step. You don't know our processes and our employees well enough to give us a guarantee. In the end, it may turn out that something does not suit us and we learn about it only during implementation. What then - redo? The risks are too big. We are considering keeping the development for ourselves. "
A variety of stories, rumors and statistics from professional publications were organically interwoven into their doubts. about digital transformation failures... The competitors' project was stopped after a year of development, when they realized that the need for funding would not disappear after the launch (and it would not be possible to fire the developers). The partner did not get through to the minds of users and had to redo some of the modules again. For friends, the launch was postponed for two years, because after testing hundreds of defects were discovered, and the process of eliminating them was even more expensive. Acquaintances of acquaintances chose an old technology that no one else supports and now everything needs to be rewritten again, others chose a new immature technology and the project was never finished.
- You know, and I understand them well - they buy a pig in a poke for millions of dollars - Denis repeated. - But we are agile and must give them some alternative.
- But they themselves confirmed that it will not work out in parts - objected the director - we cannot do faster or sacrifice quality. And if we make concessions on terms, it will be more expensive.
- And if we do not go, we will lose the client.
- Well. You need to be able to lose customers. On the other hand, they have no choice - they need this system. Look, they'll come back when they're ripe and take the risk. Many clients have returned to us after unsuccessful implementations.
- But we could have prevented this!
A simple solution
Denis sincerely did not want to give up. Standing in a traffic jam on the home-office highway, he thought how he was enraged by the delays when it was necessary to act and seemed to himself somehow helpless. "But you can go around!" - he thought and dialed the number of the IT director of the client with whom he managed to make friends.
- Tell me please, what are the owners' fears based on?
- They are afraid that we will not be able to teach users and they will make mistakes or will not accept the changes at all. You speak beautifully and correctly about modern technologies and agile methodologies, but our people are not like yours. It is more convenient for them to write down on a piece of paper and call, they control the loading of goods in the warehouse, they have no time for technology. We have simple interfaces and it took them years to get used to our system. But we got to the point where the system does not hold the load and something is constantly falling off and we cannot implement anything new due to these restrictions. We understand that we need to redo, but we definitely cannot change everything too abruptly.
- That is, if I can convince you that users will not resist the new system, then you will make a decision?
- Yes. But how?
Denis already knew how.
- We will make new interfaces for the old system and old logic. Without changing processes. Users will learn to work gradually and get used to them. If there are difficulties, we can quickly change the elements. In the meantime, we will develop new logic and pull it up to new interfaces when ready. They won't even know about it.
- Hmm, interesting twist. Is that allowed?
- You can't even imagine how much is possible in modern IT. - Denis smiled. He already knew he would win this deal.