- A rapid increase in technology is adding levels of complexity that most organizations are ill-equipped to deal with
- Auditing your current environment is necessary to build a sound technology strategy linked to enterprise goals
- Maximize audit value with proactive planning, clearly defined goals and objectives, and a process-first mentality
In the last several years (and by “several,” I mean less than five) there has been an explosion of new marketing and sales technologies available on the market. The influx of these technologies into the enterprise is adding levels of complexity that most marketing and sales organizations find difficult to handle. With regard to the proliferation of technology within an organization, I’ll paraphrase one marketer who once said, “The ‘technology ghetto’ we created wasn’t supporting our processes or the customer experience.”
So what’s a marketer or sales ops professional supposed to do? Audit. Yes, audit the technology stack. A technology audit will help you understand your technology stack, the processes it enables, the data it produces and the gaps its creates. It provides input for a technology strategy while helping you avoid creating a marketing and sales technology wasteland.
Here are three tips to keep in mind so that you kick your audit off on the right foot and maximize its value:
- Be proactive. Most audits are reactive in nature. They can be triggered by a change in leadership (new CMO), M&A or optimization initiatives. However, technology audits should be a regular activity with marketing and sales organizations. In essence, be the trigger. Don’t wait until you are forced to do one (when your CMO asks “What technology do we have in place?” or “What technology should we implement?”). You’ll be in a much better position to hand over results and recommendations from your last audit instead of staying “Could I get back to you in a week, or a month or two?”).
- Define your goals and objectives. When I speak to people about technology audits they’ve done, I always ask what they would do differently. The overwhelmingly common reply is that they would have defined their goals and objectives. This important step sets the whole stage for the audit and includes creating timelines (how long the audit will take), identifying stakeholders (who’ll be interviewed), and creating interview guides. It also covers scope – which systems and processes will be audited – and to what depth – and which ones won’t. Incorporate enterprise and departmental goals, and draft a plan of attack for what you’ll do with the audit’s results.
- Go beyond an inventory. Process should be the major guiding force in an audit and technology roadmap. Doing an audit without looking at your processes isn’t an audit – it’s an inventory (hint: an inventory is simply a list of systems and tools with a few data points and has very little decisionmaking value). So, take a look at the major processes (activities) in marketing and sales, understand how they work and how they can be improved, and then make a decision as to whether a new technology is the answer.