The hole, not the drill

Drill Bit cutting through wood "Stop Action"

"People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!" - Theodore Levitt

The board report that will wow the trustees; the detailed journal that allows anyone in the office to know the history of communication with a prospect when the phone rings; the quick view of what an application is missing and the easy way to remind the applicant of them; the automagic reminder to send an email two weeks after the first inquiry for a 9th grade prospect, and to make a phone call one week later for an 11th grade prospect. These are outcomes (1/4" holes) in need of a tool (1/4" drill).

Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for the process of choosing admission software to start with a focus on the tool rather than the outcome. This is how you can get stuck using a hammer and a spike to make your hole. It might work, but it's going to be messier and less effective than it should be.

Better to go into the process thinking about the outcome first. That way, you have a much better chance of getting the tool that meets your real needs rather than one that forces you to compromise.

Photo credit Charles Knowles