As the economic climate in 2023 continues to evolve, many companies are increasingly entering a transitional period — and they’re playing a cautious hand by prioritizing digital investments with a focus on data and personalization to get the most out of their spend.
However, these same organizations often need help to reap the total value of their technology investments. This is usually because of costly inefficiencies, such as increased support requests and limited integrations.
For companies working to mitigate these pitfalls and realize the full potential of their tech investments, the ability to tap external expertise often makes a significant difference — from implementing new technologies to educating and keeping partners up to speed as technology changes.
“A vendor who is committed to providing continued support acts as a trusted partner, helping companies get the most out of their investments,” said Lee Miles, Chief Customer Success Officer at Sitecore. “Ongoing vendor involvement helps organizations adopt new features, stay up to date with security updates and more, ensuring that the technology solution continues to meet the evolving needs of the business.”
One business that successfully built such a partnership is Marvin, a company that offers design and innovation to the spaces where people live and work. For Marvin to elevate its digital experiences for customers, the company enlisted vendors to expand its tech stack and implement new solutions. However, company stakeholders first had to understand what didn’t work before they could establish the foundation of strong and effective partnerships. The lessons Marvin learned along the way can be used by any company working with technology partners to ensure an actual value realization.
Reframing vendor relationships for digital transformations
For Melissa Howe, manager of digital experiences at Marvin, one vendor relationship highlighted the challenges of working with a technology partner that offers little support post-purchase.
“We had a vendor present us with a comprehensive plan of what they could offer, which was inclusive of guidance and expertise in areas specific to our business that we did not have in-house,” Howe said. “Unfortunately, the relationship did not turn out as promised. Communication was inconsistent, response time to issues or questions was lacking, and the promised support and consultation to fully utilize the tool, enhance our website and help optimize our investment never happened.”
The missed opportunity to assist Marvin in fully integrating its martech solutions resulted in inefficiencies across the organization. Ultimately, Marvin spent money on a technology product it could not use as intended and did not renew the vendor’s contract.
“Investing in any technology vendor has an impact,” Howe added. “This is because you’re not just deciding financially to bring in a product; there is also a massive downstream impact of what it takes to implement a new piece of technology across many different teams that requires reprioritization across the business to ensure it’s implemented successfully.”
For the Marvin team, a lack of consistent support, coaching and development led to disappointment and an ineffective technology integration. Those became essential qualities necessary for Marvin to capture the full value of tech investments and future partnerships.
“The most valuable technology vendors partner with their clients to unlock the full value of their investments by surrounding them with experts and resources that facilitate growth,” explained Sitecore’s Miles. “That means providing them with an online support portal and documentation library. It means offering services such as business optimization guidance, expert coaching sessions, development and management e-learning, solution consulting and more.
“These features help organizations enhance their technology investments by providing development tools, continuous support and valuable insights into day-to-day business operations,” he said.
Maximizing technology investments post-integration
Following its first challenging experience, Marvin expanded its existing relationship with Sitecore for solutions that elevated its website management, security and integration expertise. On an operational level, Sitecore’s flexible plug-and-play business model allowed Marvin to keep existing technologies they’ve grown to love. In addition, Howe explained, the company tapped into its customer success program, which worked with its teams to ensure Marvin implemented new solutions effectively while complementing its existing technology and tools.
In advising other companies on how to get the most out of their martech partners, Howe said business leaders should confirm that the technology and offerings meet five essential criteria. First, the technology is the right fit, and second, it can be integrated. Third, the technology will be used, and fourth, it can grow with the business. Finally, the tech must be able to show quantifiable ROI.
The underlying and even more critical factor is sustained access to support and education as the partnership continues.
“As more companies invest in their digital journey, working with vendors focused on walking alongside them is increasingly important,” Howe said. “With all the complexities involved, this is not something that vendors can ‘set and forget.’ Handholding, compassion, communication, working toward common goals — these all make a difference in the future success of companies like Marvin.”
It’s a sentiment that Miles at Sitecore echoes. For businesses to successfully leverage their tech investments and fully capture the value of the technology on which they spend, Miles emphasized collaboration and education over the more transactional relationships that vendors often maintain.
“Organizations should seek out technology vendors that ensure continued support beyond implementation,” explained Miles. “Without that continued involvement, many companies end up on their own and struggle to transition to new martech solutions successfully. The long-term viability and value of tech investments rely on long-term support — both post-purchase and post-integration.”
Sponsored by: Sitecore