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When is a New Product/Service Ready?

Every product, service, and/or technology has its place and time. While Gartner has its "Hypecycle" on technology maturity, here are a couple "rules of thumb" in helping to determine if something is ready for a business while the salesperson gives their pitch.1. 10/25 Value Rule--Does the new product offer a compelling value proposition over current solutions? Is it faster, better, and/or cheaper? If yes, by how much? If it is less than 10%, wait; if it's greater than 25%, seriously consider it. If it is between 10-25%, consider other factors and priorities.

2. Ready-Fire-Aim-Fire--Most new technology and/or products have dependencies on other products, people, and/or processes. Be quick to explore, test, and pilot new technologies and/or products (Ready-Fire), but prior to a big rollout, make sure all the underlying support, integration, processes, and people are in place (Aim-Fire). Ready-Aim-Fire can slow down innovation and Ready, Fire, Aim can put something in place before the organization is ready.

3. Simplicity--Does it do the basics well first before all the bells and whistles? Is it easy to install, configure, maintain, and support?

4. Evolution vs. Revolution--Is the new product a small step, or a giant step, towards an end vision? Evolutions are a lot easier than revolutions, thus revolutionary products should be given a lot more time.

5. References--Reference accounts showing working examples in scale, features, complexity, availability, and performance. It is OK to be on the leading edge, but is there a business requirement that mandates being on the bleeding edge? Sometimes being a fast-follower is as good as, or better, than being the leader/guinea pig.

6. Proprietary--Is there something proprietary about the product? If yes, this should be a flag. The value from IT is the system, which should be composed of standard/commodity products/services. Exceptions to this rule should have extra compelling value propositions.

7. Barnes & Noble--Does Barnes & Noble (or other book supplier) have a book on this product? Having a professional author that can articulate how to design, build, and support a solution is critical to the successful implementation and a good gauge of its maturity.

8. Vendor Viability--XYZ product may be the best thing since sliced bread, but if the company folds or gets bought out, there is a high risk that future enhancements will be delayed or non-existent.

Are there other "rules of thumb" that you use?