It’s important to remember to ask the open-ended question “Why” when evaluating technology. Your answers will help determine the reasons for exploring specific solutions.
A client recently asked about installing an add-on for their e-commerce site. They identified two solutions and asked for my expertise before they made a final decision. As I filled out a planning grid, I confirmed that both appear to be similar in general features and cost. Researching deeper into the functionality I determined that they each approached the problem differently and while at first glance they did the same thing, in reality the initial impression of their capabilities was wrong. They are the solutions for two very different problems.
My reply to the client included a summary of findings and one simple question: “I’m stepping back to ask again Why? Is the goal for your customers to follow this behavior … or would you rather they take this action?” The answer I received wasn’t the one I expected — “in some cases I want to do the first but in others the second”. It explained my clients struggle and shifted the solution from choosing to one of evaluating a dual integration.