There’s no shortage of new, exciting and functionally dynamic tools that marketing and sales leaders can choose from. When making a technology decision, marketing and sales typically look at functionality, cost and ROI. But what about the broader enterprise technology picture? A purchase decision made with no regard to your enterprise-wide technology architecture can result in duplication, data silos and inefficiencies, at best, and customer dissatisfaction and loss of revenue, at worst.
Imagine your sales team implements a sales force automation (SFA) platform that isn’t integrated with, and doesn’t communicate well with, the SFA system used by customer service. You’re now dealing with two different sets of customer data. Are you missing cross-sell opportunities? Probably. Will you lose business to competitors with more holistic views of the customer? Eventually. More than likely you also have a duplication of functionality, which inhibits your enterprise from applying economies of scale to IT and eats away at the bottom line. How can this be avoided?
For starters, get to know your CIO, lead enterprise architect and IT leaders. IT provides services across the business and has a good view of what’s happening across the enterprise from a technology standpoint. IT organizations are adept at gathering requirements and expertise and know where to save money, since they’ve been forced to cut costs for the last decade. Explain what you want to do and why, and ask what solutions are already in use elsewhere in the enterprise and whether you can leverage them. Maybe your counterparts in another region have already done what you’re planning to do, and you can replicate their efforts instead of starting from scratch.
If a similar technology solution hasn’t been implemented before, assess your data and security needs and the feasibility of integrating your chosen solution within the enterprise’s existing technology layer. IT should be able to help you with integration and vendor requirements. In the case of cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions, IT might already have a relationship with a particular vendor and might be able to negotiate a discount. At the very least, lessons learned from your pilot can be applied by IT to other areas of the business in the future. Getting everyone on the same page can only increase the business value the new solution brings your enterprise and its customers.