iPAD Collaborators Aerial View.jpgIn recent years, marketers have been on a blistering pace in search of the next cool digital marketing tools.  Whether they be in social media marketing, digital ad management, community marketing, or mobile marketing, there are certainly a myriad great vendors with compelling solutions — driven by the ever-challenging need to find better ways to connect and engage with today’s customers. As marketers, its part of our DNA to try new approaches, experiment, and innovate. However, today’s cool and innovative solutions can fast become tomorrow’s liability.  As your business grows and changes, the less shiny and less new object becomes yet another siloed solution to integrate or replace.  Enter the Pace-layered model…

I participated in a recent meeting, where a Gartner analyst presented their “pace-layered application strategy” approach — a great framework for marketers to consider when developing a strategy for marketing solutions.

Pace-Layered approach is a methodology for categorizing applications and developing a differentiated management and governance process that reflects how they are used and their rate of change. This approach originally was developed in the construction industry for constructing buildings.

The Pace-Layered application strategy categorizes applications into one of three “layers”:

  • Systems of Record – Core business processes that are stable; primary customer records/data  and common business processes (these things that doesn’t change over 10-20 years).  Systems of record capabilities are important and foundational, and they don’t change frequently. When they do change, the change needs to be carefully considered and controlled as to not disrupt the entire enterprise.
  • Systems of Differentiation – Unique processes and information that are unique to your business or industry (e.g. loyalty management, marketing trade funds, campaign management). These change much more rapidly than Systems of Record, have 3-5 year time frames and have dynamic business processes, the key feature needed is configurability. They are still important, and need change control and data integrity, but not to the extent of “Systems of Record.”
  • Systems of Innovation – New ideas and processes (e.g., social media marketing, digital ads mobile marketing). In many cases these are experimental and custom projects. And they happen in a fast timeframe: 6 months to 3 years.  Many are “throw-away” and do not last. However, some do last and turn out to be important to the business, which makes them good candidates to be re-written and moved to the Systems of Differentiation layer.

If you are a marketer, thinking about getting the next killer marketing solution, consider this approach and give yourself a framework to think through and rationalize the various marketing technologies and to develop a strategy that marketers can use to work with IT counterparts. Develop a strategy that will ensure your marketing organization will get the maximum value from these solutions.

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