Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
Change is terrifying yet exhilarating, risky but rewarding — but most importantly, change is an opportunity to learn from and experience something out of the ordinary. With this mindset, I made the transition from a long-time industry practitioner to a member of an organization that prides itself in providing insightful research, actionable advice, and objective assessments across a wide spectrum of business challenges.
My name is Fernando Pena. I come to Forrester with over 25 years of marketing leadership experience. Most of my time was spent managing marketing technology platforms and executing on marketing objectives enabled by these systems. The majority of my experiences took place within the financial services vertical, but spending time in consulting and at an ad agency also provided valuable exposure to a number of other industries and scenarios.
Having spent my career within both technical and marketing organizations, I often found myself in a unique position of being able to understand the art of marketing and the importance of the related technology platforms. I acted as an intermediary, translating business requirements and concerns into actionable items that marketing operations could use for technology roadmap development. Inevitably, it also allowed me to form a deeper understanding of the motivations, working styles, and nuances associated with each individual business unit.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most motivated, intelligent, visionary, and inspirational individuals, each one having their company’s or client’s best interests at the forefront of their daily activities. But as individuals, we all have our own working style and motivations for doing what we do. The unfortunate part about these differences is that it can sometimes lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of actions between operating units.
I started this blog discussing how change is inevitable and should be willingly embraced. This is true, but change must also be properly positioned and managed while addressing any questions preemptively. Doing so will enable all parties to experience ownership in the process and strive to work collaboratively toward an ideal state. I’ve too often seen situations where business units and their technology partners have a tenuous relationship, causing mistrust on both sides: The business side feels as if their concerns aren’t being properly addressed or thoroughly understood, while the technology unit may feel that their business counterparts are not understanding resource constraints or how a particular decision could impact the entire ecosystem. Marketing operations bridges the gap by connecting marketing’s business requirements with the technological capabilities available in the marketplace. Perhaps more importantly, marketing operations helps to maintain and strengthen the bond between business and technology by understanding the needs of both organizations.
Thankfully, the role of marketing operations is one that Forrester understands and has developed a structured approach to address challenges and help overcome obstacles around management support, communication, enablement, and many others. The report, titled Change Management For Technology Implementation, does a tremendous job of breaking down how to best manage technology change across the organization. This process helps to address not only the practical side of change management but also the more personal, and often more challenging, concerns that individuals are likely to express. It does so by proactively outlining benefits and subsequent results for a more thorough understanding of this change and how it can bring about a measurable impact to the business. If you are not yet a Forrester Decisions for Marketing Operations client, I’d suggest reaching out to your Forrester account manager to learn how you can get access to this valuable piece of change management research.
Change management is often a continual challenge within organizations and one that could sometimes use a third party to act as an advisor. I look forward to working with Forrester Decisions for Marketing Operations clients to help share these and other best practices combined with my personal experiences. Please feel free to follow my blogs for future insights around marketing technology and the challenges that marketing operations leaders are likely to encounter.