"Solutions" is one of those slippery words that can mean anything and everything. In the context of B2B companies, however, the term has taken on a specific meaning. A council of leading solutions marketing professionals, sponsored by ITSMA, developed the following definition:
"A solution is a combination of products, services, and intellectual property focused on a specific business problem that drives measurable business value."
While we like and agree with this definition, we believe that it's missing s few important elements, so here is our definition:
"A combination of products, services, and intellectual property focused on a specific business problem or opportunity that drives measurable business value and can be significantly standardized. The solutions components can be from either the vendor and one or more partners, and the solutions implementer can be the vendor, the partner, the customer itself, or a combination of the three."
It's a bit longer, and doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but we nevertheless have found that it clicks with both buyers and sellers given its emphasis on solving specific business problems with measurable business value. Also, the value is determined by the amount of the solution that is delivered by each of the parties involved in creating the solution. Understood as such, the word "solution" can get beyond the hype and provide important direction to business strategy and operations.