Turnkey Solutions

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 9.29.53 PMA colleague came to me a while back really excited about a potential new supplier. The social solution they offered was perfect, fantastic, value for money and a turnkey solution. “Just think, we could have this in place in four weeks!” he said.

I think he was a bit underwhelmed by my reaction.

So what is a turnkey solution? Wikipedia gives this definition

The term turnkey is also often used in the technology industry, most commonly to describe pre-built computer “packages” in which everything needed to perform a certain type of task (e.g. audio editing) is put together by the supplier and sold as a bundle.

The solution offered was theoretically turn-key that should be easily implemented. According to my colleague they’d implemented such things before.

So why did I find it hard to believe the four week timeline? Because in ten years of implementing technology solutions I’ve learnt that as soon as a solution needs to touch employee or customer data systems we need to follow tough procedures to make sure each step is taken correctly and with due concern for the protection of that data. That takes time, certainly more than four weeks.

So is anything a turnkey solution or is the term a myth?

The search engine we have in place on our external site behaves in this way. I think from the time we’d signed the contract until it was implemented was days rather than weeks. It’s an external tool, relying only on public – and published data. Although the supplier didn’t label it as such while they were selling the service, it is a turnkey solution.

When you hear the term used by a supplier think hard about your own company’s requirements and processes, what is turnkey for the supplier may not be turnkey for you.

Image Keys /Richard Garside/ CC BY 2.0

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2 thoughts on “Turnkey Solutions

  1. I am convinced that ‘Turnkey’ is by far the most over used word of the decade. Now when I hear a project is turnkey I run like hell from it.

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