5 surefire ways to let go of data: how to Marie Kondo your tech stack
Can Marie Kondo help declutter your tech stack?
You know you’ve done something right when your name becomes a verb. That’s what happened with Marie Kondo, whose tidying-up methods have become world-renowned. To “Marie Kondo” something is now synonymous with cleaning up, staying organized, and most of all, maintaining a calm and peaceful state of mind. But have you ever thought about how you could apply Marie Kondo’s method to your tech stack?
Why your tech stack has stopped bringing joy
Marie Kondo’s famous for saying, “does it spark joy?” There’s something to be said about having so much clutter in your technology stack that it sparks the opposite of joy: frustration, anger, and bewilderment. Along with systems that have stopped operating correctly, a disorganized, cluttered tech stack also sparks mounting technical debt.
The RevTech Performance Gap: is anybody happy?
Businesses have spent over $45B on RevTech, believing that if they spend more money on technology and buy more data, they should accelerate growth and increase revenue. However, piling technologies on top of each other and then purchasing additional solutions to make them work has created diminishing returns.
Studies show that companies’ employees aren’t happy with the tech stack cobbled together over the years.
- 46% aren’t satisfied with the insights coming from their attribution tools
- 57% said they aren’t confident that leads are routing accurately
- 42% of all the capabilities in the average company’s tech stack aren’t being used at all
That’s the RevTech Performance Gap: the difference between what you expect to get from your technology investments versus what you actually get. To get to the root of the issue, you’ve got to look beyond the CRM, the marketing automation platform, and the enterprise data warehouse. When you do, you’ll find fragmented tools, siloed data, custom code, multiple processes, point solutions that don’t work with other point solutions—in other words, clutter.
How did it get this bad?
Many factors contribute to bloated tech stacks—fire drills, mergers and acquisitions, abandoned technologies, employee turnover, and a focus on the short term over a well-thought-out plan. But the problems boil down to just two issues.
- A lack of documentation and visibility
People and technologies move at a head-spinning pace. If no one’s documented each implemented process or software, at some point, you’ll reach the point of no return.Whether you’ve implemented machine learning or other technology to improve your tech stack, you still have many connectors to Salesforce. And you can’t see what’s going on. Without that visibility and no written records, your chance of correcting issues is virtually zero.
- You lack the proper tools, so you decide to hack the system
There aren’t many tools out there specifically designed for the RevOps profession, so people try to hack what’s available in their CRM or marketing automation platform. You might also try to solve the problem by adding even more technology. Point solutions work well, but the more you add, the more complex your tech stack gets.
Signs you may have a problem with your tech stack
The clues are pretty obvious. But instead of ignoring the problems, or trying a quick-fix solution, notice the tell-tale signs of growing technical debt:
- Things break frequently and mysteriously, and you’re at a loss for where to start looking.
- You have no idea what failed, and you’re clueless about why a process takes five hours one day and five minutes the next.
- You’re using up API quotas every week.
- Your vendors start pointing fingers at each other.
Tidying by category: five sure-fire ways for letting technology go
Just as Marie Kondo advises, the solution for too much stuff is not to buy more storage but to get rid of it—something easier said than done. So, here’s a quick roadmap to help you begin.
- Map out your stack by functional area, so you know what you need—and what you don’t. Find a company that offers a graphical view of your stack. From there, it’s easier to group each technology by functional area.
- Map out your key processes to understand what happens to the data. Your team must understand what happens to the data once it’s fed into the system. Knowing your data’s journey will help you see critical functions.
- Identify overlapping functions. As different technologies have evolved, they’ve added capabilities, and you end up with several products that all do the same thing. Determine the must-have capabilities, then set aside the products that offer “nice to have” features along with functions that are already part of your “must-have” list.
- Root out your “problem processes” and determine whether to keep them or toss them. You probably already know what they are. They’re the processes that break, that employees complain about, the ones you always fix. The question to ask yourself is, ‘if I fix this now, am I going to be fixing it again next week?’ If the answer is yes, there’s probably a better solution.
Orchestrate your data and make your tech stack shine
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what you keep and what you need to throw away. But what do you do now? Fortunately, there are sensible options for re-organizing your tech stack and “spark joy.”
- Switch to a more profit-based tech stack architecture. Every point system you’re using will have plugins to integrate with Salesforce. And each will add another 2-300 custom fields to your CRM. Your immediate need is to reduce the complexity, remove the clutter, and stop contributing to tech debt.
- Simplify your tech stack with a data orchestration solution. The question to ask yourself is, can you consolidate processes using a single technology? A data orchestration solution moves data directly from Salesforce or other marketing automation platforms, streamlines processes, and removes traffic jams.
- Give yourself ample time. Give yourself a solid three months to complete the migration. Why? If you move too quickly at this step, you’re likely to fall into some common traps that can result in even more technical debt. Some of those traps are:
- Using your CRM like a marketing automation platform. CRMs aren’t built for a lot of intensive data work, so force-fitting that functionality will slow down your system.
- Falling into “shiny object syndrome.” Be selective about the technology you use, and make sure you’re solving the right problems.
- Custom coding. Stay away from solutions that require custom coding—it’ll be a nightmare for you later. Trust us on this one.
- Turning off the old system too soon. Run your two systems in parallel for at least a month before you cut over. That will give you time to ensure everything goes smoothly, with no loss of time or data.
Marie Kondo’s right. If you have an issue with clutter, start by saying goodbye to the technologies that are clogging up your system, then organize and document each process you have. Consolidate and simplify. And, as Kondo wrote, “When our space is completely clean, we don’t have to worry about tidying, so we are free to focus on the next issue that is important to our lives.”
For a more detailed look at how to apply the Marie Kondo method to your tech stack, check out Openprise CEO Ed King’s webinar now!