A recent discussion with an associate reminded me how often we ignore some great solutions for our problems. The Internet provides us with an easy way to evaluate literally dozens of options for many of our common problems. It is worth the investment to find the tool that suits our needs. Even better, we can learn that our problems are more common than we think. Even a niche problem will often have a number of potential solutions a good search away. While we can all stumble around and find some great gems, sometimes a plan is helpful.
Apple showed that less can be more. Likewise, there is a lot of research related to having a large number of options. That makes sense. We can all relate to analysis paralysis, but it does occasionally sneak up anyway. A problem we want to be solved seems to make us even more susceptible to this problem. It creates a sort of “kind in a candy store” situation. We focus on a problem, find some solutions and suddenly we can be almost giddy. If you doubt it, then take a look at search results for any passion of yours. Maybe check out some new cars, beach homes, or enticing coffee flavors. When we get what we want we are more than happy to enjoy the shopping experience and getting lost in what-ifs. The Internet provides us too many options so we need to reduce that list quickly.
Have A Plan
One of the essential reasons for an RFP is to define what an organization needs. We see this in problem-solving all the time. A well-defined problem is easier to solve than one that is vague. Take similar steps to start your search to find the tool desired. Think about what you want and create a list of priority features along with some nice-to-haves. You can do this in a matter of minutes, and it does not need to be complete. Start your search focused on solutions that provide the requirements you listed. It is not uncommon to learn about features that most providers include or new options you did not know you required. Feel free to adjust your list as needed.
Be Heartless In Reducing Options
The final goal is to get your list to five options or less. That five number is on the outside. Most lists should be down to three at this point, if possible. That may seem like a difficult task. However, I have found in most situations you can find the products available and reduce the scope of “viable options” to a few within a few days at most. Also, it only takes days when there are dozens of options and they are complex solutions. Most applications whether a task tracking solution, an e-commerce platform, or a coding utility, can be swept through in a matter of hours. You can often find what you need to know with surface reviews and related searches. They will either meet your requirements or not. Price alone can often reduce your list quickly.
The final step is to evaluate your shortlist of options. This step is time-consuming and essential in making the best decision. It often includes installing a trial version or using a demo period to get to see the solution in action. You might even watch vendor presentations and spend time discussing how a solution is the best for your needs. The process may seem like something that requires too much time. Nevertheless, spending time to find the tool or effective solution can often save you hours, days, or even months in the long run.