Thinking about replatforming your marketing technology stack? It’s never as easy as it seems.
“Should I stay with Salesforce or switch to Adobe?"
My friend who runs a small business thought this would be leisurely breakfast conversation. But for those who have had experience moving between software or applications – replatforming as it is known in the industry – is not a decision normally made over coffee. Though a simple concept in theory – Jon Turner, Partner at Clue – hazards caution when making such a radical choice.
Replatforming is the act of choosing to move from one system or application to another. For Jon, the key aspect of this process is the need to maintain a state of equanimity between the two different platforms. Any distinct change brings with it a range of considerations that must be taken into account.
Jon argues that it is imperative for organisations to examine a number of foundational elements before deciding that replatforming is appropriate.
It’s all about data
The key consideration when deciding whether replatforming is right for you is data.
“You don’t want to start from scratch. You want to be able to get your data out of one system and into the other. The more legacy term for this is migration; a migration of your data and work processes.”
A big problem in lots of businesses is how this data is handled; this can be anything from emails to support systems.
Are you segmenting your data even more by replatforming?
Are you looking to pull out a specific segment before moving?
Do you have current integrations that might get impacted in the process?
“Consider for instance an ecommerce website’s abandoned cart data; when looking to replatform, the business must ask - does this data stay the same or does it become compromised in the migration?”
Never underestimate how difficult dealing with large data sets can be. Making the decision around what data you might want is complicated in itself. Acting on that decision is then a separate and equally complex task.
Time is of the essence
It is important to further understand how much time you have to invest into the process.
Replatforming will inevitably lead to necessary retraining for both staff and clients. Furthermore, depending on the complexity of the change, your organisation might also incur a variety of technical debt.
“Replatforming doesn’t always go smoothly and is never as easy as it sounds. Unless you have the capabilities in house, you run the risk of wasting valuable resources. At Clue, we offer our expertise so that you can get on with what you do best.”
Consider what you are sacrificing when you move to a new platform. Each platform is unique and has their own intricacies which requires time and effort to get everyone on the same page.
Does it do what you want?
If your current system is broken or its feature set remains unreliable, replatforming might be the best way to course correct.
“It’s about asking if the current platform does what you want it to do?”
Conducting robust and extensive research is fundamental to making an informed decision. Is a complete switch really necessary? Or are there changes that can be made with plugins or development to fulfill organisational needs.
“At Clue, we have a range of custom development options that allow us to build on existing platforms for clients. But we also recognise that if an existing feature set cannot be expanded or is too costly to do so – it might be the right time to pivot.”
Replatform for the right reasons
So it quickly becomes clear that investing your time upfront into research is vitally important.
“We recommend doing development in two main parts: discovery and development. We spend equal amounts of time in discovery and development; prototyping as much of the project as we can."
Ultimately, replatforming should never be a decision made with vanity in mind.
“In software development we see people change the language or the frameworks they use purely because it's newer or popular at the time. However, the more research you do upfront and the more clarity you can achieve, the larger the payoff in the long run.
“You’re either going to realise you don’t need to replatform or you’re going to do it properly to begin with.”
The key to successful replatforming is remaining clear on intent. Are you replatforming for sake of replatforming? Or is this going to take your business to the next level?
Together, we can make it the latter.