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Why Engineers Need to Understand Business Perspectives

Internal Communication
Collaboration
Cross-Functional Collaboration

14 October, 2021

Sachin Shah
Sachin Shah

CTO at Self Employeed

Sachin Shah, CTO, shares how engineers need to balance their technical skills with business expertise and not sweat the small stuff.

Problem

In one of the previous organizations I was involved with, we partnered with the product vendors to get their products in front of the clients. As a result, the product received the license fee, while the company got the delivery work using the technology. My role was to be a sales collaboration lead, and my responsibilities revolved around looking after the engineers and architects in that technology.

I also worked closely with the internal directors and delivery leads to position the product in front of the client and sell the delivery work. The value proposition that we would take to the end client did not exist prior to me taking this role.

Actions taken

I had to define the value proposition that would then be taken to the leaders and directors and ultimately to the client. Subsequently, it would create work for our company. Also, it needed to be approved by the technology leadership within our company because of two reasons:

  • I needed to leverage the existing programs that were going on in the company
  • I also needed to make sure that the value propositions of the product were in line with the company’s future strategy.

I created value propositions by working with the internal leads and identifying business areas. Those areas were expected to be better as these programs were most relevant at the time in solving clients’ challenges. I worked in an iterative manner to get the value propositions agreed with the leads. Throughout this process I kept the senior leaders engaged to avoid any surprises at the end.

We created a 4 million GBP sales pipeline, and on top of that, a million GBP sales opportunity for the particular product.

Lessons learned

  • As a technologist, It is important to understand what business problems the technology could solve. Especially, as one grows into senior positions. Hence developing this skill early on is good.
  • Collaboration and building a network are equally important. Build the bridge so that you can reach out to the right people in need and vice versa.
  • Try to engage with the different stakeholders early on so that everyone is on the same page. This will reduce the amount of rework and wasted energy.

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