Afraid of the Frankenstack?

In all my years’ experience across Marketing Automation technologies the common fear I see across marketeers is a fear of the Frankenstack Monster – a collection of hardware’s and software’s built on through years of “fixes”, “upgrades” and “manual workarounds” that all become part of normal BAU communication activities.

Frankenstacks exist in businesses across every industry and come in all shapes and sizes – That’s what makes them Frankenstacks, they’re everywhere. They have in common an ad-hoc design structure where systems are implemented despite not being designed to work together and therefore struggle to serve the evolving requirements of an impatient marketeer. A Frankenstack generally is never something that is planned either, quite often created by adding capability in isolation to serve a single “must have” use case at points in time that combine to create a Monster. But… there’s a lot of positives that can come out of having a good Frankenstack!!

So, what’s the cure? How do you turn your Frankenstack Monster into a strength for your business?

Well keeping things generic and simplistic the answer starts in the same place where the monster originated… your customer! At Purple Square one of our key beliefs is that technology is an enabler and not the answer, and that never stands truer than when looking to unleash your Frankenstack capabilities for the powers of good. Why the customer I hear you ask? Well primarily it’s due to the fact that regardless of the component parts that make your monster, they’re all hungry for data… Data feeds the monster and in todays world Frankenstack only gets hungrier! So, start with centralising your data, whether that’s using a CDP, CRM, CDW or a Data Lake, centralising your customer data means all your Frankenstack components can now feed from the same treat basket.

Now lets have a look at how each element of your Frankenstack tricks its way towards your data treats. You may find that some components don’t access data directly but instead have manual feeds via a legacy ETL process or possibly even someone manually copying from one source to a software! These days the vast majority of vendors have entered a whole range of agreements with each other creating native integration possibilities between their capabilities, and where native doesn’t exist there’s a good chance that open API integration can be used to automate the connectivity’s between each Frankenstack component and your single customer source. The trick in doing this – you and your resources! Make sure you have resources with expert technical knowledge across the Frankenstack components and an experienced architect skilled at integration mappings. If you find you don’t have those individuals at your disposal, don’t try to find your way through it, your monster will turn into a bigger beast! Seek out a reputable, vendor agnostic consultancy who are experts in the area and use them to tame the beast!

When you stand back now, your Frankenstack is no longer a collection of parts laid out in a jumbled mess in front of you. It’s a shiny beast stitched together cleanly, sitting up and waiting to deliver your requirements. The component parts known, capabilities known and all sharing the same source of truth… Time to unleash the beast on your customers!

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