How many times have you seen this happen? A large company plans a web or app project, but they forget the core values that building on the web and deploying apps bring – flexibility and lean implementation. Instead, they get dragged down by trying to plan their projects around existing technology infrastructure. Why does this happen? Is it because they’ve made heavy investments in their technology and are looking for ways to leverage it even when less expensive options exist? Or, is it due to influencers in those organizations who have such a bias towards a certain technology platform, they inherently believe no other options make sense? Probably some of both. Inevitably, what ends up happening is that budgets are blown out of proportion from unnecessary costs and extended timelines, and there is friction and complexity introduced that could be avoided.
If you work at a large organization, you may disagree with this sentiment. There is no doubt that there is validity to staying true to large investments in technology. But, what happens when the technology infrastructure that is implemented is already in-excess of what is realistically needed? Would you be able to justify maintaining a fleet of jumbo jets to transport a handful of individuals, or having a lease on a huge office complex when you only have a few employees? Maybe because IT infrastructure is not as easy to grasp as other investments by decision makers, it doesn’t get viewed with the same business realism. But you have to face the facts that it ends up unnecessarily costing the company in real dollars and resources to support it. Ultimately, not doing so only gets in the way of the ability to progress a company’s technology and marketing initiatives in a competitive fashion, burdening down every project with unnecessary overhead. In many cases, this complexity and friction can be avoided by being willing to introduce new complimentary technologies, in a tactical fashion, that can work alongside existing infrastructure.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re introducing a new product or service that involves a launch with heavy reliance on the web (which is a given today). Everyone is excited about the launch and your marketing teams have come up with compelling engagement opportunities. Then, in a matter of minutes, your great ideas are ground to a halt by organizational technology adherents saying it can’t be done in time for the launch or that it can’t be done at all with the current technology implementation. You know there are ways it can be accomplished, but you are saddled by your company’s hard line stance on technology and IT commitments that hinder what is in the best interest of your business and your customers. We see it every day with an outside-in perspective that is hard for those on the inside to see, hear and accept.
Fighting the Good Fight
Large corporate IT and Marketing teams continue to fight the good fight and beneath all of the flag waiving and finger pointing is still a desire to succeed. We must learn to let go of what we believe to be absolutes in approach and technology commitments, and to embrace more agile and lean decisions. This can lead to faster response to change and exciting new marketing possibilities. We see good projects being stalled or watered down in value all of the time, because of a “command and control” mentality blotting out powerful and exciting possibilities. Sure, budgets often are cited as reasons many projects get halted. In pretty much every case, budget is an unfortunate reality. But is it also the unfortunate excuse?
Listening with an Agile, Lean Ear
Agencies and marketing firms are always in a battle to have their ideas heard or even considered, because of large corporate ideals and technology commitments. Budgets are blown out of proportion and money is wasted in ways that do not yield the highest value or desired result. But, most of the time, it does not have to be that way. As one of the few pure marketing technology agencies in the country, we see this all the time. So, what advice can we offer?
First and foremost, we really do understand the necessity of well-founded decision making processes that come from corporate dynamics, business priorities and technology investments. However, when we see great, creative ideas getting squashed by personal agendas, turf protection, or organizational feudalism, it is a frustrating dynamic. It is one that only ends up costing real dollars, time and energy, and depletes innovation and potential to impact customers, employee morale, and sales.
So, listen with an agile and lean ear. Embrace new ideas and approaches from outside eyes and explore possibilities that may exist outside your own existing technology infrastructure or perceived limitations. Pay attention when someone has an alternative way something could be done, rather than adhering to doing it a certain way or, worse yet, shooting it down entirely. Try something new outside your technology comfort zone. In other words, there is more to technology than meets the corporate eye – if only you are willing to see it.