By Lisa Heay, Marketing Planning Manager at Heinz Marketing

One morning back in March I arrived at the Heinz Marketing office like any other normal day. The news had been talking about COVID-19 for a couple of weeks by that point, and we were growing more and more skeptical we should be showing up to our shared workspace each day. The first U.S. coronavirus death had happened one town over, after all.

Then, the call was made—we should pack up what we needed from our workspace and head home for the next 6 weeks. 6 weeks!? That sounded like an eternity to me in that moment.

6 weeks turned into 3 months, and then 6 months, and here we are, almost 8 months later, still working remotely. In fact, our office, as we knew it before, has now been closed permanently. Does this story sound familiar to you? We’re not the only company to shift to a fully remote structure and we won’t be the last.

It’s clear working from home is a new reality for a lot of us. In a March 2020 article, Pew Research reported that “only 7% of civilian workers in the United States, or roughly 9.8 million of the nation’s approximately 140 million civilian workers, have access to a “flexible workplace” benefit, or telework according to the 2019 National Compensation Survey (NCS) from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

By now, 64% of US employees are working from home, according to research conducted by SHRM’s COVID-19 Business Index.

And it seems they prefer it that way. According to a recent Gallup research, 59% of U.S. workers who have been doing their jobs from home during the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible. And 99% of people say they’d like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers, as reported by ResumeLab.

Many companies are on board, too. Recent research by Gartner found that 74% of companies they surveyed expect some of their employees to continue working remotely after the pandemic ends.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that many of us are just as productive, if not more, from home, saving our companies money and resources needed to maintain an office space.

Many large organizations are already making that shift. Microsoft is letting more employees work from home permanently. Same with Twitter.  In fact, Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.

The writing is on the wall. Not only are many of us adjusting to our new normal in our physical workspaces, we are adjusting our virtual workspaces, as well. Should your technology stack change with the shift to a remote workforce?

For many companies, the pandemic has offered companies an opportunity to clean house and lean up.

In a recent Unpredictable Pipeline interview, Matt Heinz and Caroline Japic, CMO at Kenna Security, spoke about the importance of conducting a technology audit regularly.  Caroline said that companies should make it a priority to “do a technology stack audit every single year. It’s so easy for technologies to be added, but you may not even be using them.“  So how do you get started?

Do an audit.

The first step in determining if you have the right technology stack in place is to make a list of what you have today. What tools are you paying for? How many licenses do you have of each? What do they do? How are they connected? How much do they cost? What need do they serve?

Check out this recent post by Brenna Lofquist for more information on auditing and evaluating your MarTech stack.

Talk to people.

Once you have your list of tools and technologies, take a poll. What do people in your organization find crucial? What isn’t needed?

According to Caroline, “you could have the most amazing technology, but if you don’t get buy in from the different groups across the organization then you’re not able to have success with what you’re trying to do.”

We did a survey like this with our group around our communication and collaboration tools and found that our soft phone system was found to be useless to most of our team. It wasn’t user friendly, and many of us gravitated to using our mobile phones if we needed to place a business call that wasn’t already scheduled on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Slack.

Consolidate.

You have a list of tools and you know which ones people care about. It’s easy to eliminate those that don’t provide value. But take it a step further. Are there any that have redundant features? Are you paying for unused licenses? Are there any that prove difficult to support remotely? Are there simpler options out there that would accomplish the same purpose?

Chances are your organization is thinking about budget. Just because you had a big technology budget at the start of the year doesn’t mean that’s the case now. You need to do more with less.

Be intentional and choose what makes the most impact to your business and cut loose the tools that don’t impact the bottom line. Now more than ever, simplicity is the key. Tools need to reliable, easy to use, and enable us to do our jobs with ease.

Rinse and repeat.

Obviously, there is an emphasis right now on tools that enable remote teams to communicate, collaborate, and keep each other accountable and organized. But take the same effort and apply it to your sales and marketing stack—and then do the whole thing again in a year.

The technology your organization finds valuable is a constantly changing list. Take the time on a regular cadence to evaluate what is best serving your needs. Add it to your list of things marketers should do at the start of each year! Each year you’ll likely uncover tools that are under-utilized or redundant.

If anything, this year has given companies a moment to step back and make changes they may not normally have made otherwise. Make it an ongoing habit to right-size your technology stack—pandemic or not.

To hear more CMO’s describe their stories of adversity, resilience, exponential thinking and success in 2020, check out our Unpredictable Pipeline video series here.