Battling complacency and valuing simplicity

As IT professionals, sometimes we lose sight of how impressive and impactful some of the most simple solutions can be.

In the last few years, I have delivered many Dynamics 365 CE demonstrations. All of these involved some level of configuration that directly addressed a requirement or business challenge of my potential customer. More often than not, I invest significant effort in bespoking demonstrations, so that they are contextual to the customer, and the customer gets the most value from the session.

But what is interesting, on reflection, is that on several occasions the prospective clients have been impressed as much by some relatively simple, out-of-the-box, standard piece of functionality as they have by something complex and bespoke.

I think sometimes as IT professionals that work day in day out with technology, we can undervalue the simple, and overvalue the complex.

I recall a demo a couple of years ago where a prospective client (and now I’m happy to say a valued client) was blown away by the fact that they could look at a contact record in Dynamics 365, and without navigating anywhere else, they could see a list of related records. To this customer, it was a way to see, at a glance, the history of their customer. It was a way for their staff to get all of the information they needed, without having to open several screens from several systems. To me, it was some of the most basic Dynamics 365 functionality. I had been building up, in my demo, to a big reveal, of a “multi-channel” referral process that I had heavily configured. I was waiting for my point to land, to receive a standing ovation (Ok, maybe this is overly dramatic!), and for my smart solution to receive the validation I thought it deserved. The response was, shall we say, muted! Not because I had misunderstood a requirement, but because the audience was still thinking about the simple, standard, out-of-the-box feature they had seen two minutes before, that was going to have a significant impact on their business.

This serves as a real reminder. That to some organisations, even some of the most basic functionality provided by modern business application platforms like Dynamics 365 CE, is far beyond the capabilities of their existing access databases, multiple spreadsheets or handwritten notes scribbled in a salespersons notebook.

And so, I have resolved to battle my complacency that comes with being an IT professional exposed to plenty of complicated, sophisticated and ‘trendy’ solutions. I’m excited by the potential of such solutions, but it is crucial to revel in some of the capability that we take for granted. To not lose sight that there are still organisations out there that can benefit from a solution that makes the simple things easier. To recognise that there is not necessarily a direct correlation between complexity and business impact!

While I will continue to invest time into making demos contextual and meaningful for my customers, showing the full capability of the platform, I won’t underplay the value of simplicity! 

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