september 06, 2019
There are few things more disheartening than when we hear our customers say that they invested a huge amount of money in a platform that isn’t delivering what was promised. Of course there are a number of reasons that this might be the case.
Some reasons could be:
- You’re worried you’ve been sold the wrong dream
- You lack the advice or expertise to make your product sing
- Your business is trying to fit itself around the platform rather than a platform that fits the business.
We regularly see examples of all of the above and we fully appreciate the challenge our clients are facing in these situations. That’s why we are providing you with a way out of the confusion. Here is a rundown of what you need to do to start turning on the potential of your investment, and to make sure you start seeing the results you promised everyone you’d deliver.
Did we make the right decision?
There are lots of reasons why you might think you have ended up with the ‘wrong’ platform but don’t panic. On the whole, the leading platforms in the market tend to deliver much of the same general functionality. You should be able to get to where you need to be with most of them. Of course there are specific examples where you need a more powerful tool in a certain area but we’ll come to that later.
The first step is always to refer back to your original strategy and remember that you should be able to fit this platform around your business needs. It isn’t about fitting your business around the new tool as this leads to confusion, frustration and lack of outcomes. The chances are, the functionality you want is is there, you just don’t know how to make the most of it.
An easy win is to make sure that everything you do from now on is measurable. There is little point in guess work. If you can measure it, then you can refer back to that strategy and determine whether you’re moving in the right direction.
It’s all about being really clear on what you want to do and then using these tools to elevate your digital goals.
We are only using a tiny fraction of the functionality
"We bought the Cadillac but we don’t know how to drive it”.
This is a common one. In our experience, very few platform customers are using the full breadth of the platform they have invested heavily in.
That could be because you haven’t got the team bandwidth to focus on it, the agency you used hasn’t shown you the possibilities or perhaps they’ve stepped away from the project and therefore you aren’t getting the inside track anymore. Perhaps you underestimated how much focus this would need post purchase? Or how much cost…?
In this instance you need to force your team to revisit the decision of why you chose this platform to begin with. Are you just using it as a simple CMS? What are you actually trying to do with it? Once you are clear on those goals you can firm up exactly what is needed. Run gap analysis to determine what’s missing and plug the right gaps with your new investment.
Equally, you might have the right product in place but a team that hasn’t been enabled to use it confidently. If the product is technically sound but dotted with human error, you’re going to slow everything right down.
We often get pulled into rescue missions where clients have lost faith in their original agencies’ ability to deliver. They have found themselves in a situation where the product has been implemented without consideration for the business needs. Shiny and new isn’t always right.
Firstly, it’s important you have an agency that you can trust to assess the whole situation, look at the whole picture from the start and make sure that you’re getting the right platform for your business. Make sure you do the groundwork when you’re selecting that agency - who have they worked with / what have they delivered / how does that experience relate to your business.
A good agency will make sure you start delivering results early on.
The low hanging fruit
If the above is all sounding familiar, here’s are some quick wins.
- Revisit the Plan: everything comes back to strategy. Make sure you are clear on what you need to deliver and why. How are you going to measure it?
- Communicate: make sure the full team is involved in that conversation; maybe senior management made the decision to buy this platform and now you are left to do the hard work - you all need to be fully aligned on the platform requirements and what your team needs to look like in order to deliver on those KPIs. Make sure human error isn’t holding you back.
- Hit the basics: no matter how concerned about the overall decision you are, there are always quick wins to make sure that you keep above water. Is all of your content properly tagged? Get testing; Test and learn, test and learn. Try something, measure it and iterate. What can you solve with what you have? Data and analytics are your best friend here.
- Stay Relevant: knowing what’s happening elsewhere in the industry is key - keep your team up to date with the latest developments and ensure you stay ahead of the curve.
Make sure you can stand on your own two feet
Agencies should never create a dependency. The should enable you and your teams from the start but that means that you need to have the right starting blocks. Have you got the right people with the right skill sets and do they have enough bandwidth to deliver? Are you constantly reassessing the situation? Often by the time we are called in on a rescue mission, it’s on fire for a reason. Make sure you know who you need.
In many cases the very senior people in the room deciding on your new platform are not the ones who will be in charge or owning and running the solution. Try to get everyone in the room at the same time. The content editor probably wasn’t involved in the decision, but it’s definitely going to impact their day to day.
If they can’t be there at the decision making process, then there needs to be focus on education and training. If you are working with an agency for the implementation, you should be able to rely on them to up-skill the team and enable and empower them to get on with the job themselves. That way, when the agency eventually steps away, you don't get a horrible shock.
Turning on the potential of the platform you have bought shouldn’t be an uphill battle. As long as you are clear on what you want to get out of it, have the right people in place to get you there and the right agency to point you towards your goals, anything is achievable.
At Valtech we have spent the last 25 years delivering business transformation for our clients through digital means. We have the expertise and experience needed to get our clients to where they need to be, fast.