Monday, September 1, 2014

A Real Solution is a Problem Turned Inside Out

By John Trimble

Copier companies kill me. They throw around the word “solutions” more than a Presidential debate prep team. As copier companies attempt to move into actual document management they are second only to the low end imaging software companies in their never ending mantra’ing of the same word. Close your eyes, listen hard and in the distance you can actually hear the robotic marketing chorus: “Solutions…solutions…solutions…we offer solutions to today’s ever challenging business problems.”

Sure you do.

We have been called twice just this week from a copier company looking to us for help on a project already begun. My personal annoyance is not being asked to perform a rescue but rather in the simple fact that the more superficially one approaches a business problem the easier it is to act like X solution will fit X problem – like AP or Sales orders – even if you have never even analyzed the prospect’s specifics... as if all AP departments operate the same way.

Problem = solution. Solution = Problem

I wish. We could all go home early.

This is not the case. Flat out. At this point IOS has done discovery on hundreds of AP departments and you know what? They are all a little different. The path to creating a better process is a little different each time. Doing specific discovery on each client’s departments, making sure that efficiency is created and bad things actually are made to go away is part of the requirement. It would be lovely if that could be cookie cutter. It’s not.

What helps is if you have done it over and over, if you can name drop a gargantuan list of companies who you have helped, if you have technical and project personnel with skills who have experiences to draw from, who can guide clients towards improvement and away from missed opportunities.

How do you provide a meaningful, dare I say it, solution to a complex business problem?

First, as hinted, recognize the reality that no matter what you think, they are all complex. Secondly, even before you even dare to blab that word, be prepared to do the discovery work so thoroughly on the problem that you are actually now inside looking out. The hidden gotchas, the minutia, the exceptions….because we all know they are there…waiting and almost hoping to be put to bed.

If I am buying that is what I dearly hope someone is selling. Agility and creativity…. experience and expertise. Because that is what I know I will need.

IOS: it’s the idea that matters.

Go ahead, give us your biggest problem.

With offices in five states, more than 500 installations and document scanning facilities that convert over five million pages a month IOS knows what it takes to solve your document challenges.

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