In our latest report, How To Replatform Revenue Technology, Laura Cross and I write that, “The strategy, governance, process, or people aspects of a technology’s deployment or usage are just as likely to be responsible for disappointing outcomes as the chosen technology.” In actual fact this is a rather coy understatement, partly driven by the need for concision. The point being that the problem with, say, your marketing automation platform, is more likely to be something other than the system itself.
Getting to the root of the problem
I’ve had many conversations with clients expressing frustration with solution A and stating their intention to replace it with solution B, followed by the same conversation with another client, expressing the exact reverse intention. It could well be that they have each chosen the wrong platform, although it’s unlikely… It’s much more probable that the solution in question is not the root of the problem and rather the issues lie with the way it’s being used. Changing the tech is not going to make a difference!
In the report, we recommend undertaking a technology assessment to determine what your requirements are and determining whether you have the right solution already or should consider replacing it. Taking a rigorous and structured approach to this process ensures a dispassionate assessment is made, avoiding any emotions or entrenched positions. People (especially incoming leadership) often have prefered systems that they’ve used elsewhere and would like to see being adopted over incumbent technology. Taking advantage of such experience and familiarity can make sense, although changing an entire system on this basis is a flimsy justification. Attaining an evidence-based position to defend the existing solution makes it possible to avoid an expensive mistake.
Strategy, governance, process, and people
Which brings us to those strategy, governance, process, and people aspects of revtech deployment and operation that are often the real root of problems being experienced. Questions for revenue technology leaders to be asking about current deployments include:
- Objectives. What is the business issue and goal that is being addressed by the system?
- Stakeholders. Who is using the system or has an interest in it and are they obtaining the value they expect?
- Adoption. Is the system being widely used and how embedded is it in day-to-day marketing activities?
- Data. What is the state of existing data and are any issues contributing to the perception of the system itself?
- Process. How does the system fit into wider workflows and is this properly understood by everyone affected?
- Training. Is there a requirement for additional training to deepen skills on the existing system or enable more people to use it?
- Documentation. Has the system, and related processes, been properly documented to ensure continuity across staff changes and widening usage?
When these answers have been established, it is very likely to become clear that simply replacing a system is not going to solve underlying issues. That said, systems that have been in place for some time can exhibit a kind of “tech fatigue”, resulting from endless configuration, development and tinkering. Even so, changing it for a different platform won’t necessarily address identified issues. A radical solution here could be to simply “re-deploy” the existing technology. In effect, strip it back to out-of-the-box status (or even start with a new instance) and configure it for your needs today. This way, nobody needs to learn a new system and such a re-deployment should be much quicker, while giving you a fresh start.
Think before leaping
The marketing technology grass may not be greener on the other side so think carefully before making the leap. If you really think a change is needed though, take a look at the report for guidance on making the decision and undertaking the move. Forrester clients can book a guidance session to discuss your situation further.