Bengals versus Steelers teaches us how to ensure you’re ready to win


My journey as a lifelong Cincinnati Bengals fan has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. There was the excitement of the Hall of Fame-ignored Kenny Anderson at QB, only to lose in Super Bowl XVI to Joe Montana at the beginning of such a successful playoff run it makes even Tom Brady jealous.

Then came Boomer Esiason and Ickey Woods shuffling into Super Bowl XXIII, only to have my heart ripped out by Mr. Montana and his heroics once more.

Shortly after that, the roller coaster went speeding downhill for most of the 90s and early 2000s until the arrival of Coach Marvin Lewis. I’ll call that the modern era where the Bengals have had only three losing seasons since 2003. It’s been a fun journey, but it certainly has had its own ups and downs—namely the elephant in the room known as the playoffs.

You see, in those 13 seasons, Cincinnati has made it to the playoffs seven times, including the last five in a row. However, they’ve managed to not win a single playoff game. Not one.

Now, to the Bengals’ defense, the first game in 2005 was ripped away from us by the rival Pittsburgh Steelers as they shredded QB Carson Palmer’s knee on the very first offensive play of the game with a cheap shot from defensive tackle Kimo Von Oelhoffen.

Yeah, I said it. We were going to the dance until that happened.

With the exception of that first Marvin Lewis playoff game, the Bengals have pretty much faltered in the playoffs. Most recently, it was them losing the last four straight playoff games from 2011-2014. Despite that, though, I felt like this was the year.

They had built what seemed like a real Super Bowl contender of a team. Their offense was strong despite losing starting QB Andy Dalton. The defense was one of the tops in the league, and the special teams unit was once again a top 10 team.

What could go wrong?

So, as I watched the debauchery of the Bengals versus Steelers Wildcard playoff game last Saturday unfold, it had me doubting my lifelong allegiance to the Bengals. How could this team that went 12-4 in the regular season be losing 15-0 at home to a team missing several key players? I realized that despite having what seems like the best possible team on paper, there are still other issues to consider.

For instance, is the team flexible and does it have backups in place in case someone gets injured? The Bengals did end up losing a couple starters during the game. Can they play in different conditions—much like the driving rain in Saturday’s game? And are they prepared to clean up their own errors?

Choosing the right team

Much like a solid NFL team looks good on paper; an enterprise content management (ECM) solution can also look good on paper. It’s possible to select a solid solution that does what you want based on what you’ve been presented through an RFP or a demo.

However, you have to look deeper under the hood and make sure you can account for everything you may want, as well as what you may need. You need to go beyond electronically capturing documents and information and making it instantly available across your organization.

For instance, does it offer a flexible deployment capability, such as a cloud offering? And if it does, is it scalable?

Can you utilize it under different conditions such as on a mobile device, or does it only work well on-premises—much like a team that plays well at home, but not on the road? How does your ECM platform interact with its teammates with its integration capabilities? Does it have the proper security in place to prevent issues and concerns, most notably human error—malicious personal foul calls that may or may not go your way?

In other words, be sure to do your homework when it comes to choosing something as important to the success of your organization as ECM. Be certain your solution offers all the features you want, but also allows you the flexibility you need when the circumstances around your projects or needs change.

And make sure it plays well with others, because you never know when you may get hit in the jaw with the crown of someone’s helmet, only to have it ignored and not called a penalty.

I guess now we’re back to the playoffs. So, despite having control of the game and taking on the victory formation, Cincinnati lost control. Some of it was justifiable, some of it not. And yes, I am once again left heartbroken; pondering my allegiance in this abusive relationship I have with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Don’t let your next ECM project leave you heartbroken. Do your homework, and make sure you solution keeps its cool so it doesn’t turn into something heinous like what I witnessed Saturday night.

In the business world, “there’s always next year” just won’t cut it.

And for the record, Joey Porter had no business being on the field. That is all.

Mike Satterthwaite

Mike has spent his entire eight years with Hyland, creator of OnBase, providing marketing assistance for the partner ecosystem. Currently, he works with some of our largest integration and hardware... read more about: Mike Satterthwaite