Why Do We Focus on Solutions Before Defining The Problem?

Business Software

You’ve heard the common cliche, “Bring solutions, not problems.” It’s practically an expectation in the business world. In marketing, requestors often suggest solutions, like “I need a video to drive leads.” In the world of IT developers, it’s “I need an app.” Best case scenario, these are the right solutions to a problem; worst case, these are simply the delivery vehicles.

So, why are humans hardwired to propose solutions, even when we don’t know the true complexity of the problem we’re trying to solve? It’s in our nature to want to fix things, and in the corporate environment, the solution to the problem is what everyone needs. We’re driven to suggest solutions because no one wants to be reminded of the problem.

But presupposing solutions causes many unintended consequences, such as they:

  • Don’t end up solving the actual problem
  • Miss other solutions that might be more creative and unique
  • Lack buy-in on the execution of the solution

Recently, I spent some time with business and IT leaders at the Forrester Digitization conference. I was pleasantly surprised to run into many business or systems analysts whose roles are making a come back from the 2000s. It’s refreshing to hear how businesses are breaking the solutions-not-problems cycle and embracing problem-oriented thinking. Barbara Campbell, Business System Advisor at Mutual of Omaha, encourages the business to “come to her with problems, not solutions.” She wants to understand the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, and collaborate on the execution so the problem actually gets solved.

I first encountered this problem-focused strategy early in my career at the public relations firm Waggener Edstrom. Pam Edstrom asked our clients “what business problem are you trying to solve?” If she didn’t get a clear answer, she’d ask again and again until it was crystal clear. Only then, did the team dig in on high value, highly aligned work.

The industry calls this creative form of problem-solving “design thinking.” At TrackVia, we explore the problem with our customers to the nth degree. Business and IT leaders come to us with acute problems around data collection, workflow, and reporting for all sorts of use cases. They are frustrated because they’ve worked with inefficient, error-prone manual processes for years if not decades. And why? Many mid-size to large businesses don’t have the luxury of system advisors like Barbara or IT development staff.

To truly understand business problems, we have to listen to the people experiencing these frustrations. According to a recent TrackVia survey of business operations leaders, 62 percent of business leaders don’t even approach IT with their problems because it would take too long and IT doesn’t have the resources.

TrackVia for IT

What’s surprising is that most (58 percent) simply continue with manual processes, which slows performance, increases costs and raises risks around quality or compliance.

Automate Processes

Others (46 percent) forge ahead without IT, but end up regretting it because they introduce security concerns and proliferate siloed data. Some try point solutions only to be disappointed by the lack of customizations and mobile capabilities, as well as unforeseen professional services fees.

Business Developers

With all these objections in front of them, it’s no wonder operations and IT leaders are turning to low-code application platforms for business developers. Solutions like TrackVia check off so many boxes, namely:

  • Accelerate the business by automating manual processes
  • Address business requirements, including customizations
  • Empower the business to manage and change the application
  • Address IT’s most critical concerns — security, compliance, high availability and support
  • Remove data silos through enterprise-grade integrations

As we’ve discovered, businesses almost always know what their problems are (unless they haven’t come across one yet), but they don’t know how to solve them.

That’s where TrackVia comes in.

If you’re experiencing a difficult business problem, why continue searching for a solution?

Bring us your biggest, hairiest manual process problems in the field, middle, or back office. Let us help you identify all the obstacles contributing to your operational roadblocks and give you a tangible solution you can execute within weeks.

Our team is ready to hear about your challenge, so why not find out how easy it is to solve? Call us today: 1-800-673-3302.

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