Everyday I deal with this issue. I am working with our IT Staff and Business Analysts to find ways to meet the needs of our changing clientele. I am finding it imperative that our systems continue to be looked at and improved to compete in an ever-changing world.
I really believe this area is a game-changer for companies in the market. Too often, we hear that marketers need CRMs, social media monitoring tools, analytic tools and the list goes on and on. I know because I fell into this trap as well. It is easy to get lost in the many attributes of a system like Salesforce, Marketo or HubSpot and ignore the underlying real issues of the company information.
In 2016, I have made it a point to bring up information technology in my discussion with vendors and business clients. It makes for an interesting discussion. A lot of information can be obtained about a company and its vision for the future. Those companies that take information technology seriously have made the tough decisions to reinvent themselves by radically updating their programming code or purchasing an enterprise software package or upgraded their hardware or have migrated to the cloud.
As I have looked closer at our own company system, I have discovered some areas that really needed to be updated. A solid information system is needed if its going to be able to keep up with the changing demand of clients. In addition, the system needs to be designed and implemented with “simplicity” in mind. Today, the pace of decision-making has changed and people are easily distracted and they move on if their needs are not met in a reasonably efficient manner.
The User Experience, U/X is critical. This experience is for current management, client service and account manager staff. Company representatives need to make sure they have the information data resources available to them to effectively manage their operations and manage client accounts. In addition, the system needs to be interactive and available to potential clients and current clients through the communication of their information online on their website.
In 2016, I made the tough decision to address our systems and as a result we have made a number of changes to our infrastructure to help strengthen it. In addition, we are taking steps to build a new website experience which we will be rolling out in 2017 for our clients. In addition, we are taking the necessary steps internally to support processes in a more effective and efficient manner to insure system issues are reduced to a minimum.
Through this process, we have made the tough decisions to get back to deciding what information is most important to our company and how we can access information and make decisions with respect to the information. In addition, we are also having conversations with people in the field and we are discovering that those companies who are going to grow in the future are addressing their system needs now and are planning for growth in the future.
Technology will replace technology. It is happening right before our eyes with the advent of mobile technology. We are in the early stages of this phenomenon and it demands our attention. The new shiny marketing system is only as good as the data it receives from the underlying company system.