Chasing the change

I remember the days, when being a sales rep I had to pop into the office every morning before taking off to my customers to get my call list for the day, file the visit report form previous day and check the deliveries. All on paper! We did not have mobile phones and did not use email to communicate with customers. Fax machine was the technological edge.

For the last 20-odd years one cannot imagine sales and marketing operation without a Route Optimization software, CRM, Content mass management and delivery systems, etc. The world of these solutions, however, is very different today from what it used to be a couple of decades ago.

Traditional way of building information technologies for sales and marketing – define your business strategy, map out your business process, buy/build a solution that suits your strategy and process. Repeat in 5-10 years. This does not hold water any longer.

The pace of market change has accelerated dramatically. We no longer talk years – in sales and marketing business definitions and processes change continuously. So should the solutions do too.

IT solutions, which are rigid, not designed for a rapid and continuous change and adaptation slow down the business. More – IT that hasn’t been designed ‘change friendly’ will cost enormously when you have to change it. I know a company where recently millions of dollars and months of work have been invested in the sales automation system, which became obsolete on the launch day. This solution was never designed for a continuous change. The market, however, demands change. So, they had to deploy a costly team, which is working day and night throughout on change requests, but the list is only getting longer. The road-map was built years ago and they religiously followed that road.

Sales, marketing and IT leaders of today must adopt the mindset that there is no end-state to a “system context” any more. Change is the new constant. You gotta chase it every day to stay on top. Get used to the fact that your sales and marketing solution road-map is known only a couple of steps ahead (maybe!) and the rest is up for creative change and improvisation. Your strategy, your sales and marketing processes and your IT solutions need to be agile.

Few suggestions:

  • Shift from everything on-premises to the cloud – got for SaaS platforms
  • Build an adaptive, service oriented architecture, based on open APIs and interfaces to have a possibility to ‘plug and play’
  • Think scalability and extensibility to newer systems that may integrate in the future

I am not an IT guru so I borrowed these from my former colleague Mayur Gupta.

 

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