Ted Blosser is CEO and cofounder of WorkRamp, an All-In-One Platform that powers learning as a growth engine for today’s top organizations.
In a time when companies are trying to do more with less, there’s one thing that’s not lacking: technology. In fact, businesses have many choices when it comes to deciding what tools and solutions to invest in. It’s not likely to get any easier—there are more than 30,000 SaaS offerings available, and the global enterprise software market is expected to grow at an 11.1% CAGR to $404 billion by 2028.
With all of these choices, it’s really easy to purchase and deploy software that’s not providing a good ROI. Perhaps your employees fail to adopt it or use it to its full potential. What’s more, unsanctioned software purchases—so-called “Shadow IT”—can create overlap or duplication, and you end up paying for two or more applications that provide similar or identical functionality. Pretty soon, these investments can eat up your IT budget without providing the value promised.
As we head into 2023, how can you simplify your technology stack to maximize your investments and extract the most value?
In my experience, the following evaluation framework helps to cut the fat by eliminating overlap and duplication and ensuring your technology stack is supporting your most critical business initiatives.
1. Perform an audit of your must-have and mission-critical use cases.
What is your organization trying to accomplish? Do you need to generate more leads? Does your sales team need better lead management tools? Could your engineering team benefit from updated CAD software? What about sales enablement—do you have a solid learning system in place? Think about the areas of your business that need attention in the coming year, and create a list of the most important use cases for technology.
2. Look for overlap.
Once you know what your key goals and initiatives are, take an inventory of the current tools/vendors and potential future tools that map to your critical use cases. Do you have tools that address these areas? Are there certain use cases for which you have multiple tools? Do you need to add a tool to fill in a gap? Say one of your critical use cases is providing product education for customers, partners, and employees; you may be using one platform for customer education and another for employee enablement. What do you need to educate partners? Is a new tool in order, or can you leverage one of your existing tools instead?
3. Look for tools and vendors that can solve multiple use cases.
Many software vendors are expanding their offerings to cover multiple use cases. Salesforce, for example, is the leading customer relationship management (CRM) tool, but it can also be used for email marketing and managing social media. While a tool that specializes in one discipline (e.g., CRM) may not be the leading vendor for another (e.g., social media management), it might suffice. When you’re looking to maximize ROI from your technology investments, sometimes trading “best-of-breed” for consolidation and the associated savings is not only “good enough”—it’s the right choice.
4. Negotiate better price points with bundles.
While you may be tempted to implement dedicated tools for every critical use case, it may not be the best approach. Remember, the more tools and technologies you have in your stack, the more time and money it takes to manage them. Plus, more tools equals more risk, and with cybercrime at an all-time high, minimizing risk is essential. Bundling helps you to consolidate your tech stack and reduce capital expenses and ongoing administrative overhead while ensuring you have tools in place to meet all your critical use case requirements.
Realistically, the outlook for 2023 is less than rosy at the moment. While I remain hopeful things will turn around in the coming quarters, it’s important to be frugal as we head into the new year. Organizations that audit their tech stacks and look for opportunities to eliminate waste by bundling functionality can cut costs and maximize their ROI while ensuring they have all the necessary tools they need for success.
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