Have you ever played BeanBoozled by Jelly Belly? I have. Once.* For those unfamiliar with the taste-bud-torturing game, players take turns eating a jelly bean that could either be delicious or horrendous. The only way to discover the flavor is by eating it. And by then it’s too late. Do you know what the game made me think of? Yep, you guessed it—healthcare IT.
Hospital CIOs must feel like they are playing a high-stakes game of BeanBoozled each time they make a software purchase. Ooh, this looks delicious. Chomp! @$%#! I thought this was going to taste like strawberry banana smoothie NOT dead fish. But you swallow it anyway because you would rather torture yourself than lose to your kids (or tell the CEO).
Typically, technology issues or lack of functionality are not why IT choices taste like booger instead of juicy pear. Most selection teams evaluate solutions successfully, identifying vile vaporware and suboptimal solutions during multiple taste tests.
It’s the vendor relationship that often turns sour—or worse. Much worse. Like chewing on a seemingly fruity confection that’s really flavored like stinky socks. To help you avoid such palate and project pitfalls, here is a quick guide to key stages of the IT vendor relationship and the BeanBoozled flavors that characterize them:
Sales Process — Spoiled Milk or Coconut
Maybe you expect some sleight when working with sales, settling for the taste of expired dairy. But vendors that remind you of a piña colada instead are out there, and they have two things in common. They make sure you get the right (not most expensive) solution and they don’t hide costs and fees in the small print.
Project Management — Canned Dog Food or Chocolate Pudding
Know what’s worse than the taste of Alpo? Bad project management. If you’re tired of having to eat delayed timetables, broken promises and “unexpected” fees, find IT vendors with a history of handing out smooth, sweet deployments to customers.
Support Services — Rotten Egg or Buttered Popcorn
According to academic research, “if exposure is intense or prolonged, the pervasive, foul, rotten-egg odor of hydrogen sulfide can cause transitory headache and sleep disturbances.” Yep, smells like your unresolved software issue. When support is supportive, you have time to relax on the weekend with popcorn and a movie.
Relationship Management — Moldy Cheese or Caramel Corn
Once everything is up and running, do you feel like your solution is that hunk of cheddar that sits in your refrigerator for months on end, getting stale and moldy? When an IT vendor cares about you, they treat your deployment like a tin of caramel corn. They constantly make sure your system is topped off and fresh—and new, delicious features are often added to the mix.
I highly recommend that you and your IT selection committee play BeanBoozled while you are interviewing potential vendors. And be sure to pay close attention to the aftertaste that lingers on and on and on and on.
* Playing BeanBoozled with my kids actually was pretty awesome. The look on my seven-year-old’s face when eating the gross ones was more than worth it.