Large technology companies are masters of consolidation, think Microsoft, Salesforce, Apple. They watch new technologies emerge from other groups, and then either buy or replicate that functionality. Over time all the various DIFFERENT technologies you needed to accomplish a goal now show up under a single integrated application from a single vendor.
Your business technology strategy needs to take this consolidation into account. Unfortunately many IT groups justify their staffing and budgets on the complex web of systems, applications, and integrations they are supporting. When consolidation comes up, there is pushback, as this would be “too costly” and there would not be sufficient return.
The ROI comes from having a reduced internal IT footprint both on the staffing and technology areas. A reality that many IT departments do not want to discuss with their executive counterparts. As a business executive or technology leader it is imperative that you review your overall IT portfolio and staffing annually.
Here are three areas to look into consolidating:
1. Any email add-on services if you are utilizing Office 365.
Microsoft has developed an ability to adapt and either build/buy add-on services as they become essential to the core functionality of the product. Today you can purchase a Microsoft Business 365 subscription what will provide all the needed archiving, filtering, and compliance tools needed in 99% of businesses. The cost of this single subscription is less than all the add-on fees, and it will be fully integrated and manageable in a single spot.
2. Marketing toolsets
The innovation in social and Internet-based selling is amazing. The tools available for these efforts have similarly expanded dramatically. Often different departments utilizes one-off tools without consulting others (or IT!) which causes a lot of duplication and lost profit. Most CRM platforms today offer the email, social, and tracking features you need directly in their applications. Consolidation of these tools under a single platform can increase marketing effectiveness and overall ROI.
3. IT Support Staffing
Technology consolidation has also simplified many of the complex tasks associated with IT support. Many of the “issues” that required internal support have gone away. As complexity is reduced and standardization (think Office 365) has increased the ability to partner outside of your organization for IT support is a very attractive and profitable option.
Technology has always come in waves, and right now we are in a consolidation phase as larger (tech) companies are actively acquiring new functionality and integrating into their existing offerings. This should translate into LESS complexity and MORE profits for you as a business executive!