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How NOT to Make a Technology Audit an Epic Fail

February 08, 2016 | By Jacques Begin

  • Technology roadmapping is ineffective if it isn’t accompanied by a thorough technology audit
  • A technology audit that fails to consider people, process and data is a waste of time
  • Most marketers try to “hack” their audits by taking a technology-first/technology-only approach

A technology audit that focuses solely on technology provides no value or actionable input for alignment or technology roadmapping. Say what? First, let’s take a look at what a “technology only” tech audit gets you. It lets you build an inventory of the technology you have and don’t have, uncovers duplication and may give you some insight about the limitations of a technology. For example, if you are running a Web content management system that is not capable of tracking user A’s behavior, then it’s pretty safe to say you won’t be able to do any personalization based on those parameters.

There’s a better way to think about technology auditing. Don’t get me wrong; technology is certainly an important component, but so are people, process and data. Think of it this way: People use technology for a given process that produces data. It’s all connected. Here are few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind to maximize impact while conducting a technology audit:

People

  • Do interview the right ones. Interview people who actually use and understand the technology you’re examining. Get to the process owners, admins and end users who know the ropes, can give insight and have good ideas.
  • Don’t give too much credit. Tenure with a given system doesn’t always make someone an expert or even competent. If you interview one person about lead management and the marketing automation platform, don’t assume that she or he is the best and only person to talk to.

Process

  • Do look to re-engineer. Modify processes to gain efficiencies and buy time before implementing a new tool. Process engineering helps avoid some costly (and unnecessary) technology implementations. It also can be a temporary solution to buy you time until the next budget cycle, when you can propose a new technology.
  • Don’t pigeonhole yourself. I love process as much as the next technologist, but do not ignore the fact that there are technologies that provide new capabilities that may benefit your organization. In other words, don’t be so rigid about sticking to a process that you ignore what’s out there. You need to change your process to align to a new technology.
  • Do capture needs. Accurate data is vital to the buying process. Let’s face it: On average, a third of your contact database will be outdated in 12 months if you don’t do anything, and that can cripple marketing and sales efforts. During the audit, ask stakeholders probing questions about their satisfaction with data accuracy, reporting and forecasting, as well as their level of ability to make data-driven decisions.
  • Don’t focus only on data quality. Having the data right isn’t the same as having the right data. Your data might be accurate, but it could be too broad in scope to be effectively used. In other words, does your data allow you to target the types of buyers you want, or is it a vast wasteland of dead leads? Additionally, how frequently is the data audited or cleansed? A one-time cleanup won’t help down the road if there’s no governance in place to make it an ongoing activity, if it’s overwritten by bad data from another system or if no one is held accountable for it.

Jacques Begin

Jacques is a Research Director in the Technology and Services practice at SiriusDecisions. He brings over 15 years of technology research, application and implementation expertise and insight to SiriusDecisions. He has proven success in account management, research and analysis, content development and delivery and communications and collaboration. Follow Jacques on Twitter @JacquesBegin22.

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