I recently met with an old colleague, now the CMO of a large publicly-held telecom company with over 100 folks in the marketing department. The meeting was social, but of course he wanted to know about CabinetM, and of course I was happy to oblige. After sharing what we do, and how we do it, we started discussing how his organization tracks its technology. Like many companies his size, he has a marketing technologist responsible for technology acquisition and deployment, and like many CMOs, he isn’t sure how the magic happens around getting all the technology to do its job. But the most interesting part of our discussion centered around dark tech – technology that was written inside his organization to connect the different pieces of marketing technology that they use, and do things that they can’t buy off the shelf.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: Do you have any idea how many custom integrations, I.E. how much dark tech, you have inside the organization?
Colleague: No, but I am sure that my marketing ops person does.
Me: Has he ever provided you with a list of those, and a list of the people who created them, and what they connect?
Colleague, sheepishly: No.
Me: It would be worth asking this question, it’s a large reason enterprise organizations, implementing as many products as you do use CabinetM to manage their technology. If your marketing ops person leaves, you need to know where that technology lives inside your marketing technology infrastructure. Without that knowledge, replacing a core platform in your organization could take your technology infrastructure to its knees.
Later that week, I met with another colleague, the president of a large MarTech company, to show him how the platform had evolved. He was a very early user, and actually helped inform several use cases for us.
When I started talking dark tech he turned white, and stopped me.
Me: Whoa, what’s wrong?
Colleague: Those custom integrations are costing my company lots of time and money.
Me: What do you mean?
Colleague: In order for us to provide a quote, we collect information about all the products our customers are using. When we finally start working with them to integrate all their data, we bump into all of these custom integrations that no one has accounted for. Because we’ve given them a solid quote, we end up eating the cost of integrating those pieces of custom code. We could use CabinetM.
If you’re an organization using lots of marketing technology, by definition you have custom integrations hiding inside your technology infrastructure. Inside the organizations we speak with, we often tease out as many custom integrations as purchased products. Tracking this, and making sure the entire organization is aware of it, is a critical part of the MarTech management role. Our Enterprise customers save time, money and sleepless nights by making sure they know what they’ve purchased, and what they’ve built, and who owns it.
Don’t get caught in the dark!
Sheryl Schultz is co-founder of CabinetM.