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How do you solve a problem like Maria?

If only we all had a wise Reverend Mother around to advise us!

 I think it is a safe bet that most of you didn’t just read the title of this article, you had to sing it, even if it was just in your mind. We’re all very familiar with Maria – the good hearted, impulsive, loving, musical, quirky, big screen version of the real life Maria von Trapp – who was just not cut out to be a quiet, demure nun no matter how hard she tried or how strong her faith. In this song, the nuns have quite a good time singing about the trials and tribulations of dealing with Maria while they try very hard to make her follow the strict rules required for life within the Abbey. Luckily for Maria, she had a wise advisor in the Reverend Mother who encouraged her to find her true path rather than trying to force her into a mold that didn’t fit.

 Many times when we get called in to work with a client, we find that they have their own version of a Maria. They have taken a great tool or application, when used for its actual purpose, and tried to force it into being the solution for a business problem that is either far beyond its capabilities or for which it was never originally designed. Then, when the solution fails to meet expectations they are frustrated at the continued problems, expense, and lost productivity. Once again, a Maria is forced into a situation in which she can never be successful. 

 Often, we will find that a product was purchased for the sole purpose of providing a solution to a problem. Yet, only 10% of its features and functionality apply to that solution and have been explored, leaving the remainder of it virtually useless and unused. The next problem that comes up, another product will be purchased, again with only 10-15% being used, with no connection to the first product. Perhaps the unused functionality could offer significantly more to the enterprise? Maybe a different product, more specialized to the need would have been more appropriate? Two Marias left to never achieve their full potential, at great cost to the organization.  

 So how do you avoid creating your own Maria situation? Taking the time to fully understand the business problem is always the first step. It is not enough to simply say, “We need better reports.” Why? What are you trying to accomplish? What is it that you want to drive within your business? Who is accessing them? What do they do with the information? What information do they really need? This is often the part of the process that gets the least amount of funding and attention. Yet time and again the data shows us that poor planning leads to poor projects. Following that, putting in place the right checks and balances throughout your project so that you are ensuring that you are developing a solution that makes sense for your organization fiscally, technically, and from a people perspective is key. Give it the Reverend Mother test – are you rushing to throw something in place? Or are you testing out your plan and looking for the open doors and windows?

 Having the right team to help you through this process can be a huge help. At Breakpoint Technology our focus is on the long term result rather than the short term quick win. We have years of experience helping customers learn how to hit the right notes with their applications and we’d love to help you Climb Every Mountain to success! Reach out to us on LinkedInhttp://breakpoint.technology, or email/SfB at judy.nichols@breakpoint.technology.