Why every technology decision needs a trusted technical advisor

Over the past 15 years of working in the technology industry, I’ve been involved with many technology and platform investment decisions—both on the buyer and vendor sides. I’ve watched these choices become increasingly business-critical for organizations over time, with the wrong platform decision capable of negatively impacting ROI for the company in addition to unleashing major headaches for IT and marketing teams. Today, there are more channels than ever, introducing new business challenges that can be solved with new technology innovations. For martech platforms in particular, the options have also become broader and more technical, adding an extra layer of complexity to an already difficult decision for stakeholders selecting solutions that will be used for the next four-six years—and up to 10 years for something like a commerce solution.

There are many examples of marketing challenges addressed with technology, and some technical innovation even led to marketing trends and buzzwords. For me, the most obvious example is ‘Big Data.’ In the martech space working on digital experience and commerce solutions, Big Data emerged from the need to know and store as much as you can about your visitors, which led to the next trend for utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to make better sense of massive amounts of data more easily and quickly. With new, more complex solutions built around these technologies, making them work for a business and assessing whether they’re worthwhile comes down to comparing value vs. cost since the total cost of ownership (TCO) for handling the complexity, maintenance and technical debt with new platforms can turn out to be a burden rather than a value generator for an organization. For the CMO, the priority is often to adopt the latest innovations as soon as possible to stay ahead of the competition, but this need has to fit the CIO’s focus on TCO for the long-term. 

Being aware of technical debt

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