Suresh Vittal of Forrester released a report on successful implementation of Enterprise Marketing Platform couple of months ago. It had some interesting learnings for any enterprise planning to get this going in their organization. Here are some highlights:
- Pre-implementation planning should include a full data profiling exercise. Many marketers stop after a cursory audit of their potential data sources. But a basic data audit misses most of the data issues that marketers will encounter during the implementation. Profiling data early helps identify key data inconsistencies with sufficient time to solve them without any delays to subsequent phases. These inconsistencies stem from issues associated with data cleanliness, rapid acquisition of multiple data sources, and data-software incompatibilities. A leading retailer told us, "Our campaign management system likes data to be set up in a certain way. We spent one year structuring the tool to fit our data mart and then switched to organizing our data mart to fit the tool.
- "Major process and workflow revisions are par for the course. By their very nature, marketing automation tools make some processes obsolete and require the creation of others. As one large bank told us, "Marketers must realize that with automation they are capable of planning and executing 50 campaigns instead of three. This means that they will need to pay attention to workflow and analytics."
- Increased demand for analytical skills after rollout requires upfront planning. Traditional marketing practices place little emphasis on deeply understanding one's data — a required skill for using an enterprise marketing platform. As a result, the skills mix of most teams shifts after implementation, and on some occasions teams even undergo a complete reorganization. One large financial services institution found that, "The bulk of requests moved downstream. Marketers who originally dealt with campaign execution are now requesting campaigns and defining segmentation and offer requirements, with the production happening in the background."
- Technology support organizations are essential. Enterprise marketing platforms are complicated enterprise software, which require a technical background to install, configure, and maintain. Marketers should secure advice and assistance from their technology support teams for planning and defining requirements and dealing with integration issues and software upgrades post-implementation. One large insurance organization had its IT department write a portion of its request for proposal (RFP), while a large high-tech firm found great success in partnering with both finance and IT. In both cases, marketing retained ownership of the final decision, but it brought in experts for advice as needed.
- Change management and on-boarding takes longer than anticipated. With changes to process, technology, and skills, most marketing teams need time and resources to adjust. One enterprise-level, high-tech firm told us, "Don't try to shortchange the effort. Refresh it and keep it moving by focusing on process, culture, rewards, and behavior management." A large brand manufacturer told us "Scoping support was a challenge. We were taking a core tool used daily and completely replacing it with a new one. The team was busy just keeping up with campaigns, and now they have to make time to sit with the project team and learn the new tool."