May 5, 2009

Do you know the Secret to Long Term Success for an EMM Software Implementation?

As I am about to begin another enterprise marketing management (EMM) related project, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on all of the EMM projects that I have been a part of over the last ten years.  I began to wonder if there were any parallels between them all.  Were there any universal truths that guided my projects toward success (or in one case collapse)?

I started writing a list of the things that contributed to the success of the different projects, but my epiphany came when I thought about the projects that didn’t achieve overwhelming success.  What were they missing?  What impeded their success?  Being able to step back for a moment it was clear to me…

But before I go too much further, I think it would be good for me to define what I consider a “successful project” because this can be a subjective term.  Often people believe an EMM project is “successful” when your original business goals and timelines are met at the time of the application’s deployment.  Certainly these are important things to consider, but I would argue that it’s short sided to only think in terms of deployment.  What about your long-term success, what about making sure the project wasn’t just a flash in the pan?  So I’d like to include a third facet – in addition to meeting your goals and timelines, user adoption is a key element in achieving a successful EMM project.

I believe user adoption is that x-factor that when done poorly can make a good looking project go south.  So, drilling a little deeper into those successful projects and their user adoption achievements I realized that they all had at least one resource that was able to bridge the gap that so often exists between the marketing and technology groups within an organization.

Typically, this person is someone that clearly sits within the marketing or technology group, but works and interacts on both sides of the fence.  At the highest level, this resource is someone who can think like a marketer, but speak like a technologist (or vice versa).  The prerequisites that are necessary for this type of resource are someone who can:

  • Translate complex marketing campaign requirements into efficient campaign designs and solutions
  • Create and enforces EMM Standards and Best Practices across the marketing and technology groups
  • Architect operational marketing processes through the use of technology
  • Understand the wants and needs of the marketing group and then translate those into language that is easily understood by your technology group
  • Communicate and resolve issues impacting your EMM software environment and communicate the resolution to the marketing group in terms they understand; then also be able to do the same for the technology group
  • Think at a macro level across business units, but can also distill any situation to a detailed micro level as it relates to their EMM software environment
  • Understands their organizations’ data inside and out from the front line operational systems through the data warehouse and analytical data stores as it relates to the impact on their marketing programs

As you can see, this type of employee/resource wears many hats and is able to dive into the details from both a marketing and technology perspective.  Often times they act as a mediator helping to effectively problem solve complex issues that span across the organization.  It’s easy to see why this type of employee is crucial for any company that owns an EMM software application and its “success”.  The tough part is not defining the role of this resource, but finding someone to fill it!