What does a good tech demo look like?

keyboard

How often have you sat in meetings where a company comes along to present their technology solution? They rush around trying to jam projector cables into laptops, nervously working their way through the complicated maze of their laptop LAN settings, guest wifi passwords, projector or screen, trying to connect any remote attendees and all the while their sales colleagues crack the same old jokes about how "we're all techno-phobes so thank goodness we have 'so-and-so' here to sort all this out!"

14 and a half minutes late, 2 calls to the poor helpdesk guy to turn the TV/projector/conference phone on, general apologies from all and we're ready to go!

Yes, this is often seen as a necessary evil but really this shouldn't be the normal situation. However, Facebook/Instagram/YouTube/LinkedIn/Uber didn't go through that with all of you when they launched their app. You just knew how to use it.

Start questioning what you are seeing from a technology demonstration - what makes a good tech demo? The main thing to look out for is who is actually doing the demonstration.

If you as the client are not handed a device with the application on it immediately on starting then is it a demo, or a training session? Technology should be hands-on, interactive, fast and most importantly, easy to learn. Its main features should be obvious. And a short time spent with the tool should clearly show what you can and can't do with it, what value it provides and enable you to envision this working across your business.

I would suggest the next time you are presented with a technology, change it up. Ask to do the demo yourself and for them just to give a few pointers as you go. Watch how they react - that will be a very telling indication of how you will find the system to use. If they refuse, could the system be too complex, buggy, overwhelming? Hence, are your staff going to resist it and resent the lengthy training session they will need to attend?

When I’m doing a demonstration, I always ask the client to be hands on with the system. Getting tactile experience with something is vital to keeping your product in their minds when it comes to decision time. I also try to keep it short so that it doesn’t feel like a training session and they can see the primary features immediately.

The next time you buy a car, are you going to sit back while the salesman takes the car for a spin, does a few nice things you can't understand because he's in the car and you're on the shop floor, and then hand over the cash? Highly unlikely.

- Ian Blake, Business Systems Manager, Resource Solutions

Our technology, talentsource, is an industry-leading recruitment support system. It is modular, web-based and provides end-to-end talent tracking for our clients. Looking into a new vendor management system for your business? Contact us.