Sports, Heartbreak & Platform Implementations

By Evan Stos

For those who may not know, Onspring is based out of Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. For all the non-sports fans, we have a professional football team called the Kansas City Chiefs. And for those really not aware, they recently lost the AFC Championship Game—the winner goes to the coveted Super Bowl—to the incumbent champion New England Patriots. Oh, and they didn’t just lose. They lost in overtime, in truly spirit-crushing fashion…that is, if you’re a Chiefs fan. If you’re a Patriots fan, I’m sure it was just business as usual: Another year, another trip to the Super Bowl.

Ho hum.

However, as much as I want to use this blog post as a soapbox to rant and rave about the game, the missed opportunities and New England QB Tom Brady’s “fashionable, hip wardrobe”…I will refrain. Instead, I will harness this emotional pain as a teachable moment to talk about adaptability and perspective as it relates to platform implementations!

I bet you didn’t see that segue coming, did you?

Continuing this super-fun NFL metaphor that I very much enjoy rehashing following the horrible loss (read: I don’t), the Chiefs came within one game of playing in the Super Bowl. If they had made it to the Super Bowl, it would’ve been for the first time in my life…and I’m 36 years young. To even get to this point, their team—namely, the offense—had a banner year across the board. Watching KC’s new quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, was nothing short of exhilarating every time he was on the field. Point being, they enjoyed a lot of success and many, many more ups throughout the campaign than downs.

Of course, their season was unfortunately punctuated with a significant “down” note. In situations like these, it’s easy to get caught up solely with the most recent (albeit prevalent) wound. In your head, you methodically relive how the events unfurled over and over—how things could’ve gone differently if “X” happened, if “Y” hadn’t happened, etc. It’s times like these when taking a big step back to gain some perspective is the most difficult. However, sometimes that’s when it’s the most necessary.

From Pain to Gain

Now to stop my lamenting and draw the parallel to my platform implementation experiences. I’ve seen this time and time again: As an organization prepares to go live with a configured GRC solution, they experience some last minute “bumps in the road”. Some can be dealt with prior to going live and some must be deferred. When this happens, the organizations are almost always, at least for a little while, disappointed. They feel as if they weren’t able to execute 100% of their vision on Day 1. While I understand the disappointment, I always remind the people I’m working with to ask themselves some of the following questions when this happens to gain some perspective:

  • Is what is currently configured, while not “100%”, still a marked improvement from the legacy process you came from? (Spoiler Alert: The answer to this is always “yes”)
  • If you take a big step back and look at the implementation from start to finish, are you ultimately proud of the work you and your team has accomplished thus far?
  • Do you have a plan to achieve the remaining “outstanding” items in a reasonable time frame?
  • Does the platform you’re working with possess the flexibility to complete the remaining items?

More often than not, the answer to all four of those questions is “yes.” If one of them is “no,” then you simply need to figure out how to get it to a “yes” if at all possible. It’s just like the Chiefs: Sure, they didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl this year, however, the foundation is in place to be successful for years to come with a few adjustments here and there. Furthermore, as an avid Chiefs fan that has known nothing but playoff flame-outs and heartbreak for the majority of my life, it’s still a marked improvement from where we were.

Lastly, to any Patriots fans that may be reading this: Good luck in the Super Bowl (see, I’m not bitter). Tom Brady proved once again why he’s one of the greatest players—probably the best ever—to play in the NFL. Plus he always looks great, no matter what kind of “super” fashion he is wearing.

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