On your marks, get set, go… How to easily integrate any new software into your organisation
Digital marketing requires investment in technology. From analytics software, a new website, a CRM solution or an email marketing platform – there’s a wealth of technology designed to help the digital marketer do their job better.
But choices can be difficult. For example – how do you know the software you choose today will be right tomorrow? How do you justify the expenditure? How do you take the pain out of starting again with new technology? And how do you make sure you’re investing wisely?
Let us help you – after all we’re very used to guiding people through the process and managing the challenges they face. And over the years we’ve built up the know-how of how to introduce new technology into an organisation quickly, pain-free, and with the whole team up and running fast..
Our own products are simple to integrate but some solutions can be trickier. This guide is a set of general principles that you can follow for the introduction of any new technology – regardless of the supplier or organisation.
Build a water-tight business case
If you’re working for a large organisation then the chances are that you’ll be asked to justify your proposed expenditure on technology. Even if you’re not asked to complete a laborious business case form it’s still handy to work out the financial and business benefits of the solution you’re proposing.
Clearly define the purpose, benefit and the possible financial results of using the new technology. For example – a new email platform could improve your deliverability, or the insights could achieve better open and click-through rates which will result in higher conversation rates. Use examples of the results you expect and the implications for sales to justify your investment.
Before you invest in a new technology for your business don’t just think about what you need today – think about tomorrow. You may only need a campaign management solution today but as you develop you’ll need more.
Pick a solution that will grow with you – like our Marketing Suite. Don’t restrict marketing potential by under investing, as you’ll limit your success. Once your email marketing is underway, you’ll want to start collecting new data, increase your database, improve the targeting or gain insight into your customer’s behaviour. Don’t just think about what you can do today, collect examples of what you’d like to do tomorrow.
Bring people on-board
Like many of our products, the new technology may be a plug and play solution, which will require very little help from others, but it’s always useful to keep people informed. Often IT needs to know what your plans are – they may not be asked to resource the project but a new supplier may still need to speak to them to arrange the import of data, feeds or access to systems.
Keeping people in the loop makes everyone’s lives easier and avoids the need for difficult conversations or delays in getting the project off the ground. Make sure you pitch the benefit of the solution you’re proposing to everyone involved. There may be a direct benefit to their department – for example if you’re using our PureIntelligence solution, your IT department will no longer need to maintain, resource or host your data analysis. And if you’re working in an international business you may find another colleague in a different country needs a similar solution.
Get your house in order
You may have a brand new shiny toy to play with but if you don’t have the data to put into it then it won’t be much use. If you’re investing in a system which will hold data then make sure you’re not transferring errors from your old system. Take the opportunity to clean your database and get rid of data you won’t use or is out of date. If you do transfer lots of irrelevant data to your new system then it will slow your new solution up. It you’re using a new email platform then bad data may even impact the deliverability of your emails – it’s always worth starting with a clean of your data.
If you’re expecting the new technology you’re investing in to work with existing technologies in your company – such as your CRM system or website – then you need to test it. If you’re feeding data into a new piece of software from another system then make sure the feeds work properly – they’re timely and they need to work as you’d expect them to, without delay. This is something your IT department and new suppliers should be able to help you with.
Pile on the pressure
If you’re working in a big organisation then make sure you have enough logins. More importantly make sure your systems can handle multiple logins and there’s no risk of you overwriting someone else’s work. If several departments plan to use the same system make sure there’s no risk of accidentally accessing each other’s work.
If you’re integrating a piece of analysis software then think of the types of analysis you’ll do on it. If you’ll be pulling off data or running queries then test you can perform these before you sign off the integration. Think of the most complicated thing you’re most likely to demand of the technology and check it is capable of performing under stress.
Identify a super-user
When you get a new piece of software to use in a team it’s unlikely that everyone will remember the training. It’s also unlikely that everyone will be even able to attend all of the training. Nominate someone in your team to become the ‘super-user’ – this is the person who really gets under the hood of your new toy, finds out what it can do and learns both the basic and advanced training. It’s someone other team users can go to learn from.
Our Account Managers are always available to guide you through training but sometimes it’s easier to ask a colleague a quick question – especially if you’re in a meeting. It also means that you can train new team members quickly as they can learn from someone who’s in office already, who can answer questions as others get started.
Get to know your new Account Manager
Account managers are there to support you. Ask us questions and never be afraid to call us up. If we can help, we will. We may be able to give you examples of how other clients have solved any problems you might face.
What’s more, we know what our developers are working on. If you’re facing a particular challenge in your business then let us know – we may already be working on a solution that will help you in the future.
Ready, steady, test…
When you’re handed your new toy by the supplier then test it. If others are likely to be using it then get them to test it too, but make sure you’re working on a ‘dummy’ or test account – you don’t want any tests being seen by actual customers. Set-up fake campaigns, data queries, lists and check how it performs. This will not only help you identify teething problems before everyone starts using it but it will also check your own confidence in using the new solution. It may highlight a need for training, tweaks in data or feeds before you sign-off your new investment.
If you’ve followed these steps then the integration of any new technology will be easier. You’re likely to have thought about any issues up front, expectations will be set and you can hold your head up high in the office. And if you do find yourself with a problem then always give your Account Manager a ring. They’re there to help and will have heard the question before – however silly you may think it is.