'Solution' jargon

It was a stroke of marketing brilliance. On the first day, a vendor proclaimed its product a "solution", and forevermore did all the other vendors follow suit.

After all, what were their computers, applications, development environments and so on, if not the be-all and end-all for users? Whatever the vendor made, it would solve a user's problem - or all of a user's problems, or problems a user didn't even know it had yet, or meet business needs before they became problems.

Before long, of course, salespeople and marketers ran amok with the term. "Solution" became flippant marketese, belying the complexity of the technology underneath it and confounding purchaser and user over what exactly the products did and didn't do.

Not that it bothered the product pushers. Even if they didn't truly expect their "solution" to solve all user problems, they did assume that someone else would figure out exactly how the product worked or what it was supposed to do. In marketing, such wishful thinking is often the point.

You'd think we'd be insulted by supposedly technosavvy vendors belittling our intelligence by calling everything they make a solution instead of what it really is. Instead, I see many of us using the term ourselves, almost in self-defense.

It's easier to tell management we want an end-to-end electronic-commerce solution than to explain how we need software that will let orders from a company's Web site go into our accounting and inventory systems, and how that works.

It's easier, but it isn't smarter.

We miss an opportunity to explain precisely what needs to be done, and thereby miss the opportunity to educate and build alliances with colleagues throughout the business.

By flinging around the word "solution," we forget that what the vendor is selling isn't really a solution anyway - only a tool. Get stuck on solution, and you risk getting stuck with a system that doesn't meet your company's needs, or requires all sorts of additional stuff to do so. If you doubt that, wait until you have to call for customer service or support. All of a sudden, that system doesn't look very end-to-end, much less like a solution.

So call it a product or a system or explain what it is in whatever depth your audience can handle. After all, as they say, anything that isn't part of the solution is part of the problem. Best that it not be you.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Anne McCrory

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?