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We all have a digital addiction, right? Whatever we do, whether in our personal lives or at work, there’s usually an app or a vendor that can solve a specific problem. But could it be that in a bid to out-use technology to solve our problems, we’re creating more headaches for ourselves? Are technology’s countless “solutions” a problem of their own, as Francis Pedraza suggests in a recent op-ed for VentureBeat?

Even as we add more apps to our marketing technology (martech) stack, we seem to be working harder and harder to get utility and value from these tools. With only 24 hours in a day, there are simply too many tools, dashboards, alerts, and notifications and not enough time for us to realize the full potential of these tools. These “usage costs” are killing the potential of martech. We’re experiencing solution overload.

As Pedraza explains:

“The Greeks had a word, dynamis: the potential that exists within things. Every year, the dynamis of technology increases, but our usage only captures a small fraction of that expanding potential.”

So instead of fixing things, these apps are creating more problems – to the point where the technology world is in danger of losing the trust of its customers.

But in a world full of startups and established companies promising to solve every problem under the sun, it’s important to step back and realize that – as we’ve touched on in previous posts – technology alone isn’t going to solve anything. We need to look at the root of the problem – people and process.

Our instinct is to keep adding apps to our toolkits. But are they really benefiting the customer and our team?

Illustration of logos being put into a box

Technology isn’t the problem

As consumers of martech, we’re overwhelmed. But perhaps we have ourselves to blame.

We keep adding to the glut of apps, yet we rarely check with other departments to see if they’re already using something similar. We’re also guilty of rushing to make a purchase without doing the due diligence to understand if our latest SaaS tool will integrate with other systems for greater collaboration and data sharing opportunities. And, what about sparing a thought for how today’s new app could negatively impact the business and our colleagues, who may already be overloaded with a plethora of applications?

In some cases, the processes – or lack of processes – that we’ve implemented may be to blame. Perhaps there is no true means of keeping track of which applications have been added to our martech stacks.

That’s a dangerous proposition in a world where there’s an app for everything. In this world, we run the risk of every individual in the organization becoming an island, blindly seeking out and acquiring apps that serve their own objectives.

In reality, many things could be more easily solved through teamwork and by gaining a better understanding of the different tools that our colleagues might be using to accomplish their goals. Simply doing these two things can go a long way toward solving the problem of martech stack overload and application redundancy. It can help to make our apps work for us, rather than us working for them.

Let’s make our apps work for us

First, though, we need to put the right process in place to make this happen. With apps increasingly overprovisioned, under-optimized, and overlapping, we need to step back and create ways to reduce the usage costs of each app deployment and find ways to fully harness the power of our martech stack.

This means looking strategically at where each app (planned or implemented) fits into the bigger picture. Step back and ask, “How does this application help us achieve our business goals? How does it assist in delivering a superior customer experience?”

Instead of digging ourselves into a deeper hole, where we are continually overloaded by sheer numbers of applications, let’s dig in to the problem and decide which technologies can be used to their full potential moving forward. That may involve determining which apps it may be time cast away. But we must fine tune our stacks for growth. We must get the right mix of technology that connects teams to the tools and data they really need to drive business forward, rather than drown it in unnecessary friction and usage costs.

Learn more about resolving the problem of solutions overload and getting more utility from our martech stack, download the 2019 Guide to Tech Stack Management.