In today's digital age, technology has become a central part of most business operations. It is, therefore, more important than ever to ensure that your technology stack is up-to-date and optimized for your business. Conducting a technology audit is an effective way to assess your current tech stack, identify problematic areas and optimize your tools to achieve better performance and ROI (return on investment).
A tech stack refers to the collection of software and technology tools that businesses use to run their marketing, sales, and customer support operations. For example, as we will focus on today, a marketing tech stack may include tools such as marketing automation platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, web analytics, social media management, and content management systems (CMS).
In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to audit your marketing technology stack. We will also cover the benefits of auditing your tech stack, give some tech stack examples, and how you can go about conducting a technology audit in your organization.
There are several reasons why you should conduct a technology audit, including but not limited to:
1. Save Time — As your tech stack expands over time it can become bloated, fragmented, and unorganized. This can be overwhelming for your team, leading to a loss of control, productivity, and their time. Auditing your tech stack will help you to streamline your team's workflow and identify redundant tools that are causing headaches.
2. Save Money — If you are paying for tools that you are not using or that are not providing value to your business, you are wasting money. It might be that you have the right tools, but you are not using them correctly, or your data is flawed. Conducting an audit on your tech stack can help you identify tools you don't really need or downgrade to save money.
3. Consolidate — An overcomplicated tech stack can lead to fragmentation of data and information gaps, making it difficult for teams to collaborate effectively. Auditing your tech stack can help you consolidate your tools, making it easier for your team to work together.
4. Data Quality (Single Source of Truth) — With multiple tools in your tech stack, it's easy for data to get lost or duplicated, leading to inconsistencies and inaccuracies. An audit will help you identify the single source of truth for your data and ensure better data accuracy.
5. Security — Auditing your tech stack will help you discover any potential security risks that you were not aware of. Your company's network security is an especially important aspect of your business. A cyber-attack can quickly lead to serious reputational damage and even a complete blackout of business, so the importance of taking measures to protect your business and customer data cannot be overstated.
• Marketing Tech Stack — A marketing tech stack includes tools for lead generation, email marketing, social media management, web analytics, and content management systems. Examples of marketing tech stacks are Hubspot, Marketo, Hootsuite, Google Analytics, and WordPress.
• Sales Tech Stack — A sales tech stack includes tools for customer relationship management, otherwise known as CRM's. These tools manage customer relationships, sales processes, and prospecting. One of the most widely used CRM's is Salesforce.
Now we are going to go over the steps you can take to conduct a technology stack audit in your organization. As is mostly the case, preparation is often the most important part in beginning any journey.
Step 1: Define goals and objectives
Before just jumping right into the audit, you should begin with a plan to define your goals and objectives for your marketing tech stack. Knowing this is advance will better prepare you to determine what tools and technologies you need to achieve those goals.
Examples of goals and objectives could be increasing website traffic, improving lead response time, enhancing customer engagement, or improving your social media presence. Once you have determined a clear understanding of your goals, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Take an inventory of your current technology stack
Step two is to take an inventory of all the tools and technologies currently in your marketing tech stack. This should include both software and hardware, as well as any data sources or integrations. To make sure you don't miss anything, use a checklist to ensure you capture all the necessary information. Some items you might include on your checklist are:
•Marketing automation platforms
•Email marketing platforms
•Social media tools
•Content management systems
•Web analytics tools
Step 3: Evaluate the effectiveness of each tool
Now that you have an inventory of your tech stack, it's time to consider the effectiveness of each tool and whether they are achieving their intended goals. This involves assessing whether each tool is delivering the expected value and bringing a return on investment. To evaluate effectiveness, consider criteria such as:Cost: Is the tool providing a positive ROI?Ease of use: Is the tool user-friendly for your team?Integration capabilities: Does the tool integrate well with other tools in your stack?Performance metrics: Is the tool delivering the desired results?
Step 4: Identify redundant or underutilized tools
In this step, you will want to identify any redundant or underutilized tools in your tech stack. These tools are no longer necessary or not being used to their full potential. Examples of tools that might be redundant or underutilized include email marketing platforms, social media management tools, and analytics software. By eliminating these tools or optimizing them for better use, you can reduce costs and simplify your tech stack.
Step 5: Analyze your data sources and integration capabilities
Your marketing tech stack will rely on data from various sources and integrations to function as intended. Is the data flowing seamlessly though your company? Is it getting bottlenecked or fragmented due to poor integration between your systems, or other issues that could hinder your ability to leverage data insights? In this step, you will want to analyze those data sources and integrations to ensure they are working properly. Some examples of data sources you might analyze include your CRM systems, web analytics, and marketing automation platforms.
Step 6: Develop an optimization plan
Using the insights you gained in your investigation so far, the next thing on your checklist is to develop an optimization plan for your tech stack. You might consider reducing reliance on redundant tools, investing in new products that address your current problems, or enhancing integration capabilities. The goal is to simplify your technology stack, reduce your costs, and achieve better results from the systems you use. Your optimization plan should be informed by your goals and objectives, and the data and insights gathered in the previous steps.
Step 7: Implement and monitor your optimization plan
Once you have developed your optimization plan, it is time to put it into action. It could be the scary part, because you are doing something new, but you have built a solid plan to implement it. You might invest in new tools or technologies that align with your goals. What you already have might work, but it needs adjusting and some better configuring. The key here is to monitor the impact of your changes closely to ensure they are delivering the desired results. For instance, did the new email marketing platform you invested in help improve communications with clients?
Tips for measuring the results of your implementation and optimization plan:
• Set up regular check-ins to evaluate the progress of your optimization plan.
• Consider conducting A/B tests to compare the impact of different tools or configurations.
• Continuously monitor and adjust your tech stack as needed to ensure it remains aligned with your goals and objectives.
We hope these tips have given you an idea about how to go about conducting your own technology stack audit. In any business today, having a robust marketing technology stack is crucial for businesses of all sizes to effectively engage with customers and drive growth. As a company grows and expands its marketing efforts, it may feel the need to add more tools to the stack to keep up with the competition or to address new challenges. However, without proper evaluation and optimization, these tools can accumulate and create an inefficient set of disconnected tools.
By acting today to audit and optimize your tech stack, you can reduce costs, simplify your business processes, and make a significant impact on the overall performance and productivity in your organization. It will help your various teams to better align technology with their goals and objectives, ensuring that the tools and software they use are delivering maximum value.