Data should alleviate strain instead of causing new pain
Recent research from SAS and Accenture underlines what many of us already knew anecdotally. Marketers are increasingly frustrated by their inability to obtain and leverage insights into customer behavior. Marketing teams have data – heaps of data – but they are unable to use it effectively to generate insights. But how do you fix it if you don’t understand how it’s broken?
So do you “rip and replace” or “integrate and enhance”? Well, you start by analysing the cumulative issues with areas like legacy systems, increased complexity and a failure of platforms to integrate fully. Not to mention the lack of maturity in both company strategy and resources. Many still buy a platform without having a strategy for how to use its full potential. So when you evaluate the investment, it will often fail to present full “value for money."
At this stage, the traditional recommendation is to rip out all the existing technology and replace it with a shiny new system incorporating everything. The term "rip and replace” has been widely used for everything from moving to the cloud to replacing product life cycle management systems. It has been common practice for some time now.
I’m not saying that “rip and replace” does not have its place, because sometimes it’s the preferable solution. What I’m saying is that we need to be better at analysing the gaps we have and how to plug them efficiently.
Jack of all trades, master of none
I think we would all love to have everything we need on the same platform, under the same roof, from the same supplier. Because – let’s be honest – it would just be easier. The hurdle is that looking for a platform that offers everything is the equivalent of chasing a unicorn. You just might catch it. But when you do, it turns out it’s a horse with a plastic cone on its head.
The above is to highlight the fact that there are so many options out there that any platform promising everything under one roof often oversells several parts of the platform in question. That being said, sometimes the core part of the platform might actually cover the needs of a given company, but some modules might not live up to the standard. In those cases, a complete “rip and replace” could seem both expensive and time-consuming. Whereas an “integrate and enhance” approach might make more sense.
This also falls back on the martech providers who should be better at looking at a client's needs and determine if what they have to offer actually covers what the clients are going to use it for. I believe that you would be much more appreciated if you not only can communicate your strengths but also advise regarding your limitations. No one is “best in breed” across all parts of martech. But the market is turning more and more toward integrations to be the best solution for these issues.
Integrate to innovate!
Working with a platform that is built on the premise of being open to integrate with all also means you don't have all your eggs in the same basket. You can work toward a more future-proof way of approaching the digital landscape of the future while opening up new and enhanced possibilities.
The growing sense of urgency tends to push some companies to believe that speed trumps perfection. But that could be a dangerous road to go down. Especially if it’s done at the expense of “appropriate." Integration is not a one-size-fits-all approach. You must tailor it to the organisation and its needs, enabling space for future developments. However, done right, it can transform the approach to customers without significant disruption to either business or customers. And all while providing much more flexibility and ability to respond to future change.
This brings me back to the point I made earlier. We should all strive for being more critical when analysing the gaps we have in our digital landscape and ensure that whether we choose to do a complete revamp or take the best of what we have and make it better, it’s a decision built on thorough contemplation!