Monday, April 29, 2013

Decision Making

What process do you go through when making a decision?  Do you ask some questions?  Do you like the way it looks?  Do the details, the little things matter?

When you purchase an appliance or television, do you read the manual, ask a salesperson, a trusted advisor, your neighbor, someone else you know that recently went through the same decision process?  Do you research it via a search engine, read online reviews? 

I had this discussion with my wife recently.  Like most relationships each of us has our roles.  Mine includes the official read-the-manual (if it pleases you) role.  She has the role of plug-it-in or turn-it-on (and ask me what to do that if she has problems).

We have been fortunate to be able to drive a wide variety of vehicles since being together.  We used to own, now we are used to leasing and really enjoy having a new vehicle every three years and not have to worry about maintenance or other long-term car care issues.  Once you are used to the payment, they typically stay about the same and it just becomes part of your budget.  Very similar to leasing server equipment for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.  Hmmm?

My wife now enjoys, I mean really enjoys driving her Jeep Wrangler.  Enough so that she is on her second one and states that she will always have one now.  It took some trial and error over several years to finally try and lease this Jeep.  She had talked about it, her brother gave it two thumbs down, but she test drove it, liked it (loved really), and introduced me to the dealer where I could test drive what she already selected.

She likes the variety of options.  A Freedom top, which is a combination of hard-top, T-roof and also a soft-top, which has many options and she has me lower for her in the summer.  She likes the options, but really just uses the hard-top in the winter and soft-top in the summer seasons.  She, of course, adds a few options to customize to her style.

Notice that I said that I take care of the top- up, down, hard, soft.  Yes, I read the instructions.  I even know how to remotely start it with the key.  She said she could not make that work and thus hands them to me.  She is management and strategic, I am technical and tactical.  It works in our relationship.  We each take care of what we do best.

For my car, I researched all the options, checked with the dealer, went to one of their promotional events to get a discount on a new model.  I needed to know everything, even though I knew what I was going to do, I just needed to justify it properly.  I like watching the Salesrep demonstrate the car features when I picked it up.  I probably knew as much as he at that point.  I asked a few questions, one of which he had to double check.  Amazing what information is available. 

I often tell company owners the most dangerous employee is the one who reads the help instructions.

Should an ERP system be analyzed and if so, to what extent?   Considering that replacing an existing ERP solution is comparable to open heart transplant surgery.  If the doctors are smart and the homework and prep done right it can proceed without issue and your life continues happily ever after.  Done wrong or steps skipped and a less than optimal existence will follow.

What challenges are you trying to solve? 

What options are available in the solution?  What will the Return on Investment (ROI) be?  Can you purchase and deploy in a phased manner or do you have to jump in fully? 

Two really important questions are how well does the software match your company’s culture and does it give you the ability to improve customer service levels?  There are a great number of solutions to choose from today.  Does the new solution employ new technology that requires hiring new people or does it involve too many steps to process a simple transaction?  Is it just a matter of the learning curve or will it just frustrate everyone.  Most new solutions require some learning.  What will life be like six months later? 

Change is the hardest thing for people to do.

If the fit is good, then it is not uncommon to actually hear six months after implementation that “I wish we had done this earlier, I do not know how we functioned before”. 

Does anyone have a vision of the future?  The most successful people have coaches.  In the business world we call them Trusted Advisors.

Does it matter?  The questions and due diligence? 

If you asked my wife, her answer would likely be “No”.  She is in that rare group that has that ability to just pick the right one.  Besides, she knows that I will do the research regardless, so why should she do it also.  Remember she is the strategic one.  For me, the answer is “Yes”.  Yes, it matters.  It matters very much.  What about your business? 

What are your most asked and yet unanswered questions? 

What keeps you awake at night?

Contact Dolvin Consulting with your questions.  That is why we are here.  We work with industry experts to ensure you have the right solution to your challenges. 

We look forward to serving you.


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