New and innovative technologies have the power to put a business far ahead of its competitors, marketing technology in particular, and that is the promise business leaders buy into when a vendor wins them over. But it can only be true if those technology investments are right for the business. All too often, businesses rush into a decision they soon regret, resulting in an enormous waste of time and money. So how can you know that a technology investment is really the right decision?
“With the increasing complexity of technology decision-making, purchase regret is pretty much the common experience,” Gartner Expert Gladys Yeo writes. A recent Gartner survey found that only 13% of respondents didn’t have regrets about recent major technology investments. The landscape is fraught with pitfalls, and finding the ideal technology for your business must be a carefully considered and structured process.
Firstly, you don’t want to make a technology investment in search of a problem. Just because a technology is impressive, even game-changing, doesn’t mean your business has anything to gain from it. A purchase decision should always start with a real business need – a problem that needs solving for which a technology investment is the answer.
With that starting point, business leaders will at least be pointing in the right direction, but it’s just the beginning of the process. You need a strategic technology roadmap to find your way.
Devising a strategic technology roadmap
A strategic technology roadmap is an overview of the organisation’s short- or long-term technology strategy and an outline of technology requirements. It must be an enterprise-wide initiative, as losing interoperability between branches or divisions could be disastrous and negate the benefits. Such a roadmap should include…
1. Vision and strategic objectives
Articulate the company vision and outline the desired outcomes of any technology investment. This should always follow a business outcome-focused approach rather than a technology-first approach.
“Strategic tech choices are less tech-focused than they are problem and people-focused,” as Salesforce puts it. Consider who will be using the technology and how it might improve (or complicate) their lives.
2. A baseline inventory of existing tools and technologies
Take stock of what tools your organisation already has at its disposal. Will a new investment create redundancy? The aim should be to try to lessen the number of tools and vendors, keeping things as simple and consolidated as possible.
3. Stakeholder input
In any business, one department that should always be in the room for technology investment decision-making is IT. It’s wise to consider inviting Risk & Compliance representatives, operations managers, sales and marketing in the case of marketing technology, and the users themselves, if possible. Try to get a wide range of perspectives and focus on those who will be directly affected.
4. A plan to evaluate vendor capabilities
The criteria upon which your business chooses one vendor over another needs to be clearly outlined. A flashy sales pitch shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Can they provide customer testimonials or case studies from businesses like yours that purchased a similar solution? What kind of after-sales support and training do they offer? Be sure to carefully evaluate the reputation of a vendor before making a commitment.
5. A plan for implementation
This step is too important to leave to an afterthought because a messy implementation process can be hugely disruptive. Ensure that the amount of time and resources allocated to user training and preparation is adequate and take a phased approach to implementation if need be.
A plan to avoid buyer regret
By sticking to a buying process that ticks all of those boxes, is rooted in the company vision and is based on a long-term strategy, your business has a far lower chance of experiencing a case of buyer’s remorse. The key is to remain focused on what you want to achieve.
A decent technology partner can steer you in the right direction and offer vendor-agnostic solutions that combine the tools you need without making you pay for extras. Or better yet, you can leverage their technologies and expertise through the “as a service” business model, from infrastructure and hardware to software and services, avoiding the CapEx and in-house skills required for ownership. As businesses become increasingly digital-first, the need for such a partnership becomes ever more important.
Tap into our expertise and learn more about the digital solutions, marketing technology and marketing-as-a-service solutions that we can offer.