Solution Development: Introduction

As we have discussed in other blogs, Solutions are a critical element in winning in a market segment by addressing the challenges and opportunities for clients in that segment.  Building and taking solutions to market is one of the most impactful business activities – therefore, it requires a deliberate and thoughtful process to maintain momentum, utilize learning along the way, and codify the solution.

This blog introduces our five-step Solution Development process:

  1. Frame the Market Idea: At this point, you have identified a challenge or opportunity in the market and have done some initial vetting internally. After receiving the green light from the Growth Board, the Idea moves into the first stage of Solution Development, where you confirm the topic’s significance in the market and conduct a high-level economic analysis of the Solution – What is the investment? What is the ROI? If agreed that the Solution is worth pursuing, it moves to the next stage…
  2. Develop Solution: Developing the solution involves providing some solution detail and understanding of the investments necessary if the market buys this solution. Key outcome of this phase is to determine whether the solution is achievable (i.e. do we have capacity and capability?), impactful (i.e. are business outcomes material to both the market and our organization? Is this worth it?), and actionable (i.e. can we sell and deliver?). Additionally, it involves digging further into the financials to determine the type of investments – besides capacity – that are required if the market buys the Solution.
  3. Validate Market Interest: Now, it’s time to interact with the market to validate whether buyers are willing to spend money on this Solution. You’re also testing positioning and messaging at this point to secure and close initial projects at 2-3 pilot accounts.
  4. Validate Solution Applicability: Once you have accounts to work with, you can begin to deliver the “vision” of the Solution. This phase is about validating the Solution economics while ensuring that the Solution IP (new or existing) is impactful. Additionally, you are identifying the skills and capabilities necessary to be successful in the account.
  5. Determine Requirements to Scale: The final phase of solution development is about validating the capability to scale and launch the solution. At this point, a decision has been made that this is a viable Solution and that the business should move forward in making it a Solution in the Portfolio and may even end up as a new line of business for you. Therefore, it’s time to assign accountability for building the business, determine how to scale the Solution, and officially launch the new Solution.

These 5 steps come together to give a holistic picture of the Solution – from a market & customer and internal & company point of view.  The coming blogs in this series will walk through the details of each of the steps to help you develop an approach to determine whether the solution is worth it, and if it is, what it will cost and the benefits it will bring.

Written by: Sarah Cushman

About the Author:

Sarah Cushman is a Senior Consultant with McMann & Ransford and has experience working with Fortune 500 companies to solve complex challenges, drive differentiation, and create long-term value.

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