Sometimes everyday life reminds you of essential truths, like the need to take legacy systems into account before falling in love with bright shiny technology that you or your organization must buy.
My husband and I fell into that trap this weekend. We had reached the end-of-life for a first-gen front loading washing machine, and needed to buy a replacement in short order.
The Buyer’s Journey
Knowing this was imminent, I had done quite a bit of research online, exploring a wide variety of models and feature sets. Like any digitally savvy consumer, I checked out user reviews on the leading brands and models. I visited quite a few websites and specialized appliance review blogs, filtering out brand-sponsored biases and insanely angry customers — trying to ensure we’d end up with a set of balanced perspectives. We were looking for the patterns of user reviews, rather than being influenced by a few overly loud voices.
Armed with a list of final candidates, we went shopping at a family-owned local firm that specializes in home appliances, representing a broad assortment of brands. We’ve done business with this company before.
A knowledgeable salesman confirmed one of our options, but also steered us toward a model we had not adequately considered. We got some product literature from him, some price quotes on our two final candidates, and told him we expected to make our decision by the end of the weekend.
We went home and did some more online research to learn what existing customers have to say about the model we had not considered. Lots of 4– and 5-star reviews. Hooray! This was the one that would work for us.
My husband did some pricing research and found a lower price at a local big-box retailer. Given prior positive experience with the specialty appliance dealer, we called the sales person, cited the price issue, and negotiated a deal that made him and us happy. (We also stepped up to a 5-year extended warranty, given some concern about the long-term reliability of these overly electronic washers…)
Before day’s end we pulled out our credit card and placed an order. The store promised to deliver our new machine within a couple of days.
The weekend ended on a happy note.
A Failed Installation
Early this morning the delivery truck showed up on our street. As promised, the delivery team hauled away the old machine, and two brawny men carried the new washer up to the second floor laundry room.
And that’s where we discovered, the hard way, that we had not adequately researched and planned the implementation scenario.
As you can see in the snapshot above, the new technology has been connected; however, the machine is not usable because it does not fit into the plumbed-in drain pan.
If this were software, I’d say we face an API protocol mismatch.
So now we have to go shopping for a carpenter or handyman who can create a custom solution for us, to ensure the new technology will fit into our existing infrastructure. He will have to remove the old pan, ensure no damage to the drain, and then install a larger pan that conforms to the dimensions of the new machine.
Fortunately, there’s enough room in the laundry area to do what’s necessary. In the meantime we face the challenge of no laundry facilities until we’ve found a carpenter and resolved the installation problem. Meanwhile the July Fourth holiday weekend looms.
Had we anticipated this, we would have delayed the installation — rather than succumb to the charms of instant gratification. We would have taken action to replace the drain pan with a new and larger one, before committing to a delivery and installation date.
A Parable for Tech Buyers
This simple story is a parable for marketing technology purchases, cloud-based or not.
Even though it may delay your purchase decision, don’t forget to think through the implications of in-place, legacy systems and the implementation/adoption scenario before falling in love with the latest bright new shiny object…