Sally in HR has a Business Problem – Part 4

In our last episode, Sally was concerned that building an app may be more complicated than she thought.

Sally and Art from IT agreed to explore having their partner build it. The next day, Art calls Rupert, the CIO, for budget approval.

“Hi Art”, Rupert answered, “What’s up!”

“It’s about Sally’s app”, said Art, “I think she got in a little over her head, and I’m too busy to help her.”

“I am starting to get concerned about the time she is spending on this”, said Rupert, “but I want to explore what this Power Platform can do for us. Since this popped up, I’ve thought about quite a few things this might help us with if it can do what I think it can.”

“I agree,” said Art, “I’ve been doing some reading, and I also think there is possible potential, but our people alone won’t get us there. That’s the reason for my call; I wanted to look into maybe having our partner build this app for her. It would be quicker, and I think we could get a better idea of the possibilities in the hands of an expert.”

“Yeah, probably”, said Rupert, “any idea what that will cost?”

“Not a clue”, said Art.

“Well, it’s a simple app; it can’t cost that much”, said Rupert, “Keep me in the loop!”

“Will do”, said Art as he disconnected the line and called the Microsoft partner. “Hey Tim”, said Art, “It’s Art from Acme; got a minute?”

“Sure Art, what’s up?” said Tim, Acmes’s account rep from Super-Duper Technology.

“You spoke the other day about Power Platform,” said Art, “and it looks like we could use some help.”

“Yeah, about that, we don’t actually work on Power Apps”, said Tim.

“Really, but you are a Microsoft Partner!” said Art.

“I’m not sure why everyone thinks every Microsoft partner is an app builder”, says Tim, “Microsoft has a lot of products; nobody can support them all.”

“Understood Tim, I know the feeling well.” said Art, “Got any recommendations on who might help us?”

“Try Scott at Forkleworks.” said Tim, “He’s kind of arrogant but seems to know his stuff, an MVP, I think; I’ll send you his info.”

About 20 minutes later, Tim’s email arrives with a link to Forkleworks, and Art clicks it. He peruses the website and thinks, okay, well, at least they do seem to specialize in Power Platform. He clicks the link to the blog and starts scanning. Art thinks, “Tim was right about one thing, this Scott dude is kind of an opinionated ass, but it does seem like he knows this stuff; at least I hope so.” Art clicks the link to schedule a call tomorrow.

Art calls Sally, “Hey Sally, our partner does not do Power Platform stuff, but they referred us to someone else. I set up a call for tomorrow and added you to it.”

“Great!” said Sally, “Who are they?’

“Some dude named Scott.” says Art, “Company is.. um. just a sec.. Forkleworks.”

“Ah yes, I saw them when I was doing my research.” said Sally, “That Scott dude seems quite full of himself.”

“Let’s assume for now that he’s just confident.” said Art, “See you tomorrow on the call.”

2 PM the following day, Scott starts the call by saying, “I hope you don’t mind; I have added my business partner Iliad to the call.”

“The more, the merrier.” says Art, “I also added Sally to the call. Sally was the one who started all of this to solve a problem she has in HR.”

“Hi,” says Sally, and goes on to describe her business problem in detail. After some time, she realizes no one else is talking, “Can you still hear me?” Sally asks.

“Yes,” says Scott, “we can hear you fine. We prefer hearing the entire issue before asking questions.”

“Okay, well, that is the entire issue,” says Sally, “we want to build the New Recuit App ASAP. How much will that cost?”

“Not a clue… yet,” said Scott, “but I do have some questions.”

“Fire away!” said Art.

“I want to unpack this Master Spreadsheet a little more,” said Scott.

“Well, that will come later,” said Sally, “the priority right now is the Recuit app.”

“Yeah, I understand that is the priority,” said Scott, “but ultimately, these things will need to work together, so you really shouldn’t build one without considering the others.”

“I am also curious to hear more about the ERP connection.” chimed in Iliad.

A little frustrated, Sally says, “The ERP is the lowest priority; that is why I started on the Recuit app myself.”

“I see,” said Scott, “I think that part of the issue is that you may have had too narrow of a view before building.”

Sally thinks, “Wow, he is an arrogant ass.”

“I think that is exactly what happened,” said Art, “we missed a step”.

“Think of an app as a brick used to build a house,” said Iliad, “you would not start building a house with a brick; you would start with a plan.”

“You may discover, with a plan,” continued Scott, “that you picked up the wrong brick to start with.”

“Okay”, said Sally, “how do we create this ‘plan’?”

“It’s a process called ‘solution architecture'”, said Iliad, “the Power Platform has many components and sub-components. With a decent understanding of the whole challenge, we can assemble a plan from the most appropriate components, including possibly some from outside the platform, to accomplish the plan best.”

“So are you saying,” said Sally, “that I wasted my time creating that app?”

“Maybe, but maybe not.” said Scott, “It’s just the cart before the horse. Unfortunately, Microsoft has pushed a very narrow path to people in your exact position, which you and many others followed. The “super simple” path that, unfortunately, seldom leads to success.”

“You got that right,” said Sally, “I feel like I wasted my time! We should have just had you guys build it in the first place.”

“Well, we won’t build it for you.” said Scott, “But we will build it with you.”

Sally agrees to send her spreadsheet over to Forkleworks for review.

After the call, Sally calls Art, “Hey, that Scott guy is pretty cocky.”

“That doesn’t mean he is wrong,” says Art, “He had a point about a plan”.

“I don’t understand why they can’t just pick up where I left off and knock this out,” said Sally, “you think they are just trying to turn this into something bigger?”

“In IT, we always have a plan,” says Art, “we would not start buying cable and switches and routers all willy-nilly. What they said makes sense to me.”

“Okay, I’ll defer to you,” said Sally, “we’ll see where it goes.”

A few days later, Scott scheduled a follow-up call to review Forkleworks’ findings.

Check out for the next exciting episode of “Sally in HR has a Business Problem”.

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