One of the standard pieces of content that organizations want prepared is the Data Sheet / Solution Brief. They are those 2-page (sometimes more!) content pieces that provide the reader an overview of the product or solution.
I was hired by LSI Engenio (now NetApp) to produce a Solution Brief for their new dense storage product. This Brief would take the standard components of a Data Sheet (product description, benefits, differentiation, technical) and expand it to include use cases. We wanted to talk to the potential users and help the reader of the Solution Brief ‘see’ themselves using the solution.
When writing a Data Sheet or a Solution Brief about a technical product, you not only need to know your audience, but you need to understand the technology to the level of detail that enables you to write about it.
To prepare to write the Solution Brief I read MRDs, talked to Product Management, and talked with Engineering to gather information about the technical aspects so I could tie it back to the business benefit and the reason someone would care about this technology.
This is where the work comes in. I understood the high performance storage market, the business issues users were feeling and the features they were looking for. Then, I took the features of this dense storage product and tied it back to the business issues. Not just the general features, but the things different audiences would care about. C-Suite, data center operators and the business units have their different and unique focus.
Then I added the use cases. This involved interviewing users of the product to understand how they saw this storage fitting in their environment and how it would make it easier for them to manage their business. We included 3-5 sentences – just enough to help the reader ‘see’ themselves using the storage.
The technical specifications were provided by Engineering and added to the Solution Brief.
This Solution Brief was 4 pages. It served the need for an all-encompassing description of the product. Content from this brief was used to create the 2-page data sheet, in web text, and sales enablement materials.