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Customize or Pay the Price

Technology upgrades are not only about installing the latest software but tailoring your products to suit your requirements, saving time and money while delivering improved UX and CX.

I am often asked the question, “How do I improve my technology stack?” While it is impossible to give an answer without a deeper look into their system, I have noticed commonalities in the way they think about technology solutions. There is a wide-spread belief that a shiny new piece of technology can swoop in and solve a multitude of problems. In truth, finding an off-the-shelf piece of software that effectively solves one significant issue should be considered a major success.

Mistakes are made before a purchase is completed, partly because of the mindset companies have developed, that new technology automatically equals improvement. There are two crucial steps necessary on either side of the purchase itself, that will turn a decent solution into the perfect one: problem identification (pre-purchase) and technology customization (post-purchase).

Customer Alignment

The decision to alter your technology stack should align to the needs of your customer base. A negative trend in key metrics such as customer acquisition or attrition rates, indicate that a change is necessary. At this stage, people are tempted to seek out a solution that can be implemented quickly in order to turn things around. This approach can be effective in the short-term but has negative long-term consequences. 

To identify a more effective solution, with the long-term plan in mind, problem identification is key. Only once a problem, or area of improvement, has been identified, should you get to work on finding a solution.

There are plenty of similar technologies out there designed to solve the same problems but, they are built differently, and some will be better suited to a company’s needs than others. Whether buying new tech or altering your existing stack, team buy-in is key in identifying the fundamental criteria that you require from a solution.

Product Customization

As technology is built for the masses, software is designed to do certain things well that will satisfy the needs of different organizations. It is up to organizations to individually seek out a competitive advantage they can gain from a piece of software, through customization.

The “set it and forget it” mentality is a thing of the past. Modern technology allows you to constantly tweak, change and test to evolve a product. This means you should buy technology with the intention to customize, providing new possibilities through enhancements and integrations. 

Integrating a marketing platform into your sales system is one option I commonly see, syncing information between the two seamlessly. Then, through customization, you are able to standardize data collection, avoiding confusion and mistakes that arise from storing data in different places. Ultimately, the user experience is improved, and the customer receives more personalized messaging.

Extending the Digital Lifespan

Digital products lose value over time, even if they do not physically deteriorate, our perception of what constitutes best in class tech is constantly changing. Nokia was once the benchmark for mobile phone producers, but people would be aghast if you took away their iPhone and replaced it with a brand new 3310 today. The phone hasn’t changed but Nokia and their competitors have far surpassed its capabilities over the years and taken our expectations with them.

Customizing business technology allows us to build, maintain and update our systems, introducing new features and removing unwanted ones as the need arises. Doing so means you won’t have to drag your team through a cumbersome change management process every few years to re-house data and learn a brand-new system – not as exciting as getting a new phone.

As businesses grow, their technology should be growing with them, adapting and evolving to support day-to-day operations and goal attainment. Throwing out technology that no longer serves a purpose is wasteful both in terms of monetary expenses and lost time. This can be avoided with proper planning during the buying stage and strategic customization thereon. 

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