How many times have you heard these robotic responses to inquiries directed to your technology vendors?
And how many times have you fell for one of those lines and ended up in a conversation similar to one that perhaps you’ve had with Siri on your iPhone? You know the one - you think you’re being very clear with your questions and you keep repeating them – possibly rephrasing or with a slightly different inflection – and ultimately give up in frustration because you’re just not getting through.
We’re all looking for technology to solve business problems and we often mistakenly think that a technology vendor can solve all our problems. Some can but it takes more than a technology solution and if the vendor is not capable of more than that, then you need to find someone who is. Let’s take a closer look at those statements.
“We have the perfect solution for you!” or “We have the solution to all your <fill in the blank> problems!” If they haven’t sat down with you and taken the time to listen to your needs, how do they know it is the solution for you? At DPT, we believe in the local, personal touch and taking the time to understand why certain information is meaningful in the context of your organization. We put ourselves in your shoes when we work with you on solving your business problems.
“We make it easy for you – it is really simple to implement our solution!” “We have a standard approach that works for everyone!” The technology is the easy part – it is understanding your business processes and the people who work those processes and use the technology that is key to successfully implementing technology. Good people and good business processes drive performance. Technology simply assists. One size does not fit all when it comes to assessing what is right for your organization. It is certainly important for a tech solution to be scalable but the business processes for an organization of 3-4 people are very different from the processes for an organization of 20 or 200 – and your software solution needs to be configured to your business processes. At DPT, we make sure you have solid processes in place before looking at technology solutions.
“Oh sure we can do that for you.” When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like or can be made to look like a nail – and some vendors just have that proverbial hammer. This is one of those situations where you will have better luck talking to Siri because sometimes she will respond with, “That may be beyond my abilities at the moment.” While you may be frustrated, at least Siri knows her limitations. You need to know your vendor’s limitations – whether or not they do!
Were your fundraising events successful? If you’re like most nonprofits, your initial reaction would be to put those funds directly into your client services. While this is a great way to support your mission, this routine needs to be balanced with investing in organizational improvements that will streamline your nonprofit operations and ultimately, advance your mission to reach more people. Thinking more like a for-profit business can help you make solid investment decisions.