We have been in the age of technology acquisition, and given the 6,829 solutions available as of this year, there is no shortage of them to buy. I get it. When we look at the business problems that exist, it is just so much easier to buy the tool. It’s prepackaged, comes with a lengthy list of features and benefits, a shiny strategy of why it’ll solve all your problems, and teams of people who are elated to underscore this message to you.
What they promise to deliver is very likely true, but may not be the solution you need right now. Thankfully after years of acquisitions, we’re all finally starting to realize that the quick-fix stack of technologies hasn’t been a fix at all, and instead has exponentially added to the complexity of our original problems.
Part of the challenge with every technology is that it requires a plethora of other investments, which were not clearly stated on the package, such as:
- Aligning features to capabilities. What are your company’s objectives, and therefore the capabilities needed to achieve them? Oftentimes, we see clients reverse the order and really focus on the functions of the tool vs what they’re trying to accomplish with it. So when we start by comparing the tool’s features to our business requirements, we find that the bells and whistles aren’t wholly in alignment, or that we already have an in-house or existing solution that meets the need, leading to redundancies.
- Defining dependencies to the other technologies in your stack. What will be the impact to data, strategy, and internal processes? These need to be identified to determine how they will be managed, and how you will be working with the affected teams managing them. Without this review and planning, you end up with siloed environments and manual processes and workarounds.
- Deciding who will “own” it? Who’s your administrator? Who is the person or team in charge of its usage, governance, adherence, and changes and updates to the system? As a consultant who has helped with countless implementations, 90% of the time a platform owner is not identified, or that person is wearing multiple hats. Today if you have an enterprise-level technology, you need an owner, and perhaps a team, depending on the scale of your organization.
- Identifying the people that will implement, but also operationalize. We frequently see a project team assembled for implementation, including cross-functional leads, project managers, and subject matter experts. However, there tends to be a gap on who will take ownership once the “project” of implementation is complete. You’ll need an identified team, with the right skill sets, to maintain and iterate what has been built.
- Establishing and communicating your processes. Without this, you’ll have the wild west. Ask 10 people how to complete a task, and you’ll end up with 10 different answers. So ensure the process is defined and documented, socialized (frequently), and accessible to anyone that needs to view it.
- Training. This includes both onboarding and ongoing training, and is often where we see a breakdown. Either there aren’t enough people to support the technology, or there is a misalignment in skillsets and an absence of requisite support to bridge that gap. So hire an expert in-house or bring in a team to teach yours.
…and this is why it’s just easier for us to default to looking at the next tool. The above list of items are often undefined, challenging to measure success, and therefore difficult to put a value to, both from a budgetary perspective, and more importantly, time.
But it’s never too late to make those investments, and why we’re seeing more audits of our clients’ martech stacks, organizational structures, and internal processes. So before you look at the next tech solution available, it’s worth pausing and honestly assessing your current situation. Do you know all the tools in your toolbox? Why they were originally purchased? Can you affirm you have the above list of investments in place for each of them?
If not, and don’t know where to start, we can help you, either with an initial assessment or a full-blown roadmap to address any gaps. At a minimum, let the above list give you a place to begin. It’ll lead to greater clarity and efficiencies for your teams, and very likely the removal of redundant technologies, saving you even more dollars to put back where it matters.
Please contact us to learn more about how we can shape your strategy before you buy.