A Means to End the App Confusion

“Endeavor to One” is a phrase I coined back in 1996, when I was serving as director of materials at Mercy Health Services North in Cadillac, Mich. I used the concept to frame the opportunity and challenge our decision-making as we established a centralized service center between two “competing” health systems – the Northern Michigan Supply Alliance (NMSA). We didn’t know to call it Lean at the time, but we were essentially establishing a rigor to eliminate waste. It also served as a collaborative benchmark. If an issue arose where we disagreed on an approach, we’d get out the Endeavor to One yardstick and use it to measure each approach and determine which would be the “leanest.” Last week I had the opportunity to chat with my friend Mark DePonio, who has been leading the NMSA for the last several years, and found that he has advanced this concept well beyond its original intended scope.

I have recently dusted off Endeavor to One to help articulate a growing issue in technology solutions in our industry. Multiple point solutions (applications designed to solve a very specific problem) are emerging and creating confusion. Actually, I’ve talked to folks who are beyond confusion; they are frustrated. I’m hearing: “How many icons will I need on my desktop to do my job?”  As I have written previously, the last thing this industry needs are more applications to synchronize, integrate/interface and learn. Yet, many gaps still exist in our strategic, analytic and decision-support capabilities. So how do we fulfill these needs and Endeavor to One?

We are not the only industry with the problem. Think of the many Apple users who almost daily find themselves muttering “Where’s that app I downloaded a few months ago that would…?” as they frantically swipe back and forth on the phone or tablet looking for a specific icon.

So how do you reconcile Endeavor to One and “I have an app for that?” The answer is Platform as a Service. I mentioned this in a previous Op-ED. If the apps coexist on the same platform (a platform that also allows users to configure their own usability controls), then you have something that is as flexible and as comprehensive as the user needs it to be. The underlying data are one with the apps.

Our SmartSUITE™ PAAS solutions are evidence that there is at least one technology company out there endeavoring to be one with your complex needs.

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