Dimitris Glezos

Replacing a Component of Your Tech Stack: Pain or Gain?

We have numerous conversations with companies who are already using technology for localization, but think it might be time to migrate to a new system. Sometimes these discussions begin because there’s a sense at the company that their needs have changed and it might be time for a more robust solution, or perhaps what they originally thought was a good fit for their business needs hasn’t turned out to be the case. So the business owner of localization tech is doing some tire-kicking, trying to figure out the right way forward.

But often, the person responsible is also asking what the company will get from making a change – is the benefit truly worth the pain of undoing APIs or integrations, and uprooting their team from existing processes or workflows? Often the pain must be pretty extreme for their inquiries to be “real”. Sometimes it’s just a lever to shock their current vendor into providing better support or lower pricing.

We recently went through the same experience internally, where we were facing the annual renewal for a key element of our marketing tech stack. And we took some notes on how that process has impacted our business.

Not satisfied, but not in pain

We knew we weren’t getting the most from this particular marketing technology; we were leveraging just a small portion of its functionality. Some of the slower than desired progress was due to usability, for sure, but as a small team without a dedicated system manager, we also thought this could just be normal growing pains. We’d learn and get better.

Plus, the team had made a safe decision going in, picking a fairly standard and widely used package in the marketplace. While the initial vision for how we planned to use the tool had changed somewhat, we had, nonetheless, invested a fair amount of time developing connections with both our product and our CRM system to automate actions across sales and marketing, as well as to share data that would help us better address the needs of prospects and customers.

And finally, the original deal had been completed before much of our current team was in place, so we weren’t sure if there were any gotcha’s in the original contract, like a time window for notice of cancellation that was due before the actual renewal, or cancellation fees and the like.

So all things considered, we felt like we’d stay where we were and strive to get more from the existing system.

A twinge, then a pull

Then the renewal discussions began. And our discomfort – not pain exactly – increased.

Yes, our vendor agreed, we weren’t getting the most from the system. They recommended some diagnostics on their end, which basically informed us we weren’t using X, Y and Z, information we knew well enough on our own. And they sent some documentation.

Then we discussed price. Despite the fact that we had significantly scaled back our objectives so had originally overbought significantly, it took three conversations to get to an agreement that yes, we could renew at a revised lower usage level, and therefore a commensurately lower price. But no budging on that price point vs. list.

We, of course, had been doing our own tire kicking, gaining us the intelligence that we could be spending significantly less with other systems, and of course we shared this with our provider. That resulted in getting a datasheet (that was outdated) about why they were better than the other system.

It was all a bit underwhelming. To be sure, we were probably a bad-fit customer, so getting us to churn sooner rather than later was possibly a good strategy. But our renewal was less than a month away, so they were more likely thinking they’d just continue to take our money, and then not provide much support.

Now we were really uncomfortable

So, thanks to our tire kicking, another vendor we had been meeting with suggested “just try trialing for a week.” We only had three weeks to go in our contract, but we decided what the heck, we’d just take a peek. And that peek totally changed everything.

The new system was so much easier, with connectors and functionality being so intuitive out of the box, that we decided at the end of a week we’d take the plunge and attempt to transition everything in 2 short weeks.

Almost missed the gain

We did make it in that 2-week period, getting all our connectors set up and migrating our data. And we’re still marveling at how much easier it is for us to get our work done — way better than taking a bottle of Advil and applying more sweat-equity to our old solution.

But we almost never made it to this point.

Our pain did not seem acute enough, and the gain was almost too theoretical for us to really look at migrating whole-heartedly. Our recommendation? If you even have a sneaking suspicion that your current solution might not be giving your business enough value, you owe it to yourself to be bold and see the gain rather than the pain.

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