5 Lessons Quality Pros Can Learn from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Split

Breaking up is hard to do but so is 
sticking with an inefficient or outdated 
quality management system.

The Brangelina uncoupling has made headlines around the world—and not just in the tabloids and entertainment publications. “How Will Angie and Brad Split their Real Estate?” asks Realtor.com. A recent Forbes article explains, “What You Can Learn About Divorce & Taxes from Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie.” Legal blogs are going crazy with posts about prenups; they’re not just for the rich and famous, you know. Yes, the Bradexit is much bigger than the Britexit. It seems like all of us can learn something from their breakup—even those of us who work in the quality industry.
Take your enterprise quality management system (EQMS), for example. Maybe you loved it in the beginning (the honeymoon phase), but now the novelty has faded. Needs change. Regulations change. Technology changes. With hindsight, you realize it isn’t right for you at all—that perhaps it never was.

As the saying goes, breaking up is hard to do. And while switching EQMS providers isn’t quite as heart-wrenching as switching life partners, it can be tough to let go. After all, you have a lot invested in the relationship, and the thought of starting over with someone or something new can be scary. However, sticking with an unsatisfying software solution that doesn’t add value out of convenience is even scarier. You owe it to yourself to move on. If you are thinking of ditching your current EQMS for another—or want to upgrade from a paper-based QMS to an electronic one—take these lessons to heart:

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Quality Management System (QMS) Toolkit from MasterControl.
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#1: Choose wisely.

One of the most important relationships a quality professional will have is with its enterprise quality management software (EQMS) provider. Once you go live, you will spend a lot of time together (or at least a lot of time on their software). It’s a major commitment, one that will impact your organization for years to come, with long-term financial implications. That is why it’s import to make sure the solution you choose is designed to stand the test of time, and the vendor has a good track record of stability. Brad was Angie’s third husband—just sayin’. 

#2: Don’t be swayed by sexy features.

There are a lot of EQMS solutions on the market. Many look good on the surface but dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find they offer features you don’t need and will never use. That is because product development of those solutions is driven by software engineers who have little to no real-world experience working in regulated industries. At MasterControl, for example, product development is driven by seasoned product managers with years of industry expertise. This enables us to provide solutions, features, and enhancements that offer tangible value—and are compliant with the latest industry standards. So when you are shopping for an EQMS, don’t be dazzled by bells and whistles, shiny interfaces or a slick sales pitch. Look for a vendor who has walked in your regulatory shoes. Substance, not style, is the trademark of a strong EQMS solution. 

#3: Shop around.

Angie and Brad got together less than two years after she split from her second husband, Billy Bob Thornton, and while Brad was still married to Jennifer Aniston. There’s a lesson here: rebound relationships seldom last. If you are looking for a new software provider, don’t rush the evaluation process. Did you know that 38 percent of purchased software ends up as shelf ware, which is software that has been purchased but never implemented? Why? Often it is because the solution lacked the flexibility to adapt to an organization’s existing business environment. Rather than compromise efficiency, or redesign proven processes which took years to develop and implement, an organization will opt to delay or abandon a software rollout, resulting in a significant waste of time and financial and human resources. Make sure the software you choose allows you to easily scale up (or down) according to your needs and integrates with other third-party solutions so that data is streamlined throughout different business areas. If a software provider wants you to change your business and operational process to accommodate its software, consider it a relationship red flag. 

#4: Say no to “high maintenance.”

Hollywood celebrities are notoriously high maintenance. They often demand—and receive—outlandish perks and accommodations. Put two drama queens together and, well, it’s easy to see why celebrity divorces rates are sky high. It’s tough dealing with difficult people. It’s tough dealing with difficult software, too. Ease of use is critical to user adoption. When shopping for an EQMS, look for one that is easy for users who are not super tech savvy to navigate and provides a good user experience (UX). Without it, users are unlikely to adopt the software, or they will use it unwillingly.

And don’t forget IT! Most EQMS solutions demand intensive IT management and maintenance, making them an added burden to an already overworked and understaffed IT department. Make sure the EQMS platform you choose requires a light IT touch while securely managing your critical information, and your IT staff will thank you.    

#5: Make sure it’s mutual.

Love is a two-way street. This is true in business as well as marriage. Many relationships have ended in disaster when one of the parties starts to make it a one-way highway. Like an ardent suitor, some software vendors will move at the speed of light to woo you and win your business but fail to return your calls once you are a customer.

If your software provider isn’t offering you the same level of support and attention it did in the beginning or is forcing you to pay an exorbitant MSA for antiquated technology, move on—you can do better.

Lisa Weeks, a marketing communications specialist at MasterControl, writes extensively about technology, the life sciences, and other regulated environments. Her two decades of marketing and advertising experience include work with McNeil Pharmaceuticals, SAP AG, SCA Mölnlycke, Crozer-Keystone Health Systems, and NovaCare Rehabilitation/Select Med. Her work has appeared in numerous industry publications, including Medical Product Manufacturing NEWS (MPMN), Medtech Pulse, Risk Insights, MD+DI, Pharmaceutical Processing, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) and PharmaTech. 

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