May 18, 2006

A Preliminary Impression

Filed under: digital — mhoye @ 11:22 pm

If you’re new to large-organization or “enterprise” computing, you might be surprised by the odd terminologies you’ll have to get comfortable with. For example, what is the difference is between a “product” and a “solution”? “People seem to use them interchangeably”, you might be saying to yourself, “and I can’t figure out why, but those people give me the creeps. Tell me, Mike, what do those words mean, and why do I want to scrub myself to the bone with lye every time I talk to the people using them?”.

I am here to help. It turns out there’s a simple way to distinguish the two:

A “product” is a thing that you pay for once.

A “solution” is something that you pay for forever.

Somebody selling “solutions” will tell you that you have many, many problems. For which, treacherous escarpment of sheerest coincidence, they may also be able to provide related “solutions”.

“Products” have “specifications” which include requirements, capacities and related concerns using words like “amps”, “gigabytes” and “megabits”.

“Solutions” have pictures of smiling, pretty people of various ethnicities sharing a joke in pristine offices, climbing energetically up stairs and sitting in meetings looking stern. They don’t actually use the words “drink the kool-aid, drink it” but that’s pretty much what they mean.

“Products” have price tag.

“Solutions” have a phone number that will connect you to a helpful consultant.

At this point it should be clear where that bad case of the heebie-jeebies is coming from too.


  1. what wonderful advice.

    In the future may we all be like you, smart enough to just replace the product rather than contemplate whether or not the kool-aid is actually safe to drink.

    Comment by saladking — May 19, 2006 @ 5:48 pm

  2. You need to learn how to use a computer first, obviously. Pop quiz: is that a “product” or a “solution”?

    Comment by Mike Hoye — May 21, 2006 @ 12:55 am

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