Ted Blosser is CEO and co-founder of Work Disasteran all-in-one platform that powers learning as a growth engine for today’s top organizations.
At a time when companies are trying to do more with less, there is one thing not missing: technology. In fact, companies have many choices when it comes to deciding which tools and solutions to invest in. It probably doesn’t get any easier – there are more than 30,000 SaaS offerings availableand the global enterprise software market is expected to grow at a 11.1% CAGR to $404 billion by 2028.
With all of these choices, it’s very easy to buy and deploy software that doesn’t deliver a good ROI. Maybe your employees aren’t adopting it or not using it to the fullest. What’s more, unapproved software purchases – the so-called “Shadow IT”—can cause overlap or duplication and you end up paying for two or more applications that provide similar or identical functionality. Soon, these investments can eat into your IT budget without delivering the value promised.
As we move into 2023, how can you simplify your technology stack to maximize your investments and get the most value?
In my experience, the following evaluation framework helps reduce the fat by eliminating overlap and duplication and ensuring your technology stack supports your most critical business initiatives.
1. Audit your must-have and mission-critical use cases.
What is your organization trying to achieve? Do you want to generate more leads? Does your sales team need better lead management tools? Can your engineering team benefit from updated CAD software? What about sales enablement: do you have a solid learning system? Think about the areas of your business that need attention in the coming year and list the top technology use cases.
2. Look for overlap.
Once you know your key goals and initiatives, identify current tools/vendors and potential future tools that fit your critical use cases. Do you have tools that address these areas? Are there certain use cases for which you have multiple tools? Need to add a tool to fill a gap? Let’s say one of your critical use cases is providing product education to customers, partners, and employees; you may be using one platform for customer education and another for employee engagement. What do you need to train partners? Is a new tool okay, or can you use one of your existing tools instead?
3. Look for tools and vendors that can solve multiple use cases.
Many software vendors are expanding their offerings to cover multiple use cases. For example, Salesforce is the leading customer relationship management (CRM) tool, but can also be used for email marketing and social media management. While a tool specialized in one discipline (e.g. CRM) may not be the leading supplier for another (e.g. social media management), it may suffice. If you want to maximize the ROI of your technology investments, sometimes trading best-of-breed for consolidation and the savings associated with it is not just ‘good enough’, it’s the right choice.
4. Negotiate better price points with bundles.
While you may be tempted to implement dedicated tools for each critical use case, this may not be the best approach. Remember, the more tools and technologies you have in your stack, the more time and money it takes to manage them. Plus, more tools equals more risk, and with cybercrime at an all-time high, minimizing risk is essential. Bundling helps you consolidate your tech stack and reduce capital expenditures and ongoing administrative overhead, while ensuring you have tools to meet all your critical use case requirements.
Realistically, the outlook for 2023 is not rosy at the moment. While I remain hopeful that things will change in the coming quarters, it is important to be frugal as we enter the new year. Organizations that monitor their tech stacks and look for opportunities to eliminate waste by bundling functionality can cut costs and maximize ROI while ensuring they have all the necessary tools they need for success.