Look for simplicity and elegance, not jargon and needless complexity.
Data privacy doesn’t come cheap. Spending on data-privacy solutions at both small and large enterprises doubled in 2020, according to Cisco’s latest Benchmark Study, with organizations spending an average of $2.4 million to manage data-privacy issues.
The good news is that many organizations get excellent value for money: more than two-thirds of businesses say they get significant benefits from their data-privacy tools, and 35% of the 4,700 industry leaders polled by Cisco said their data-privacy solutions generated ROI equivalent to at least double their investment.
On the other hand, not everyone’s happy: about a third of businesses didn’t get significant benefits from their tools, and 15% said they didn’t get enough ROI to justify the millions they’d spent building out their data-privacy infrastructure.
Clearly, when you’re spending serious money on data privacy, you need to do everything you can to maximize the return you get on your investment. So how can you optimize your procurement process to ensure you’re getting value for money?
1. Know what you’re using.
It’s always better to shop for software by weighing the product you’re eying against a specific alternative. If you’re already using a data-privacy solution, make sure you understand exactly how it works, and what its strengths and limitations are, so you can see where a new option succeeds or falls short.
Perhaps you’re using a cheap but inflexible cookie-based consent system, or perhaps you’ve adopted a third-party solution with its own strengths and limitations. Make sure you understand the way your current system addresses your specific use-case, and pay close attention to how well it copes with any new pain-points that may have emerged as your business has grown and regulations have evolved.
2. Know what you need.
The key to getting positive ROI from your data privacy solution is to keep its core functionality front-of-mind while you’re shopping. No matter how many bells and whistles a particular platform offers, its core task is to ensure you and your partners only use data in legal ways that align with your user’s expressed preferences. A tool that falls short on that basic metric won’t deliver positive ROI, no matter how many other features it has.
Once you’ve found a shortlist of solutions that meet your basic needs, start thinking about additional features that add value for your specific use-case. If a feature sounds cool but you can’t immediately see how you’d use it, it might not add much value for your team. That said, it’s also important to think about your future needs — a solution that offers flexible, futureproof functionality is likely to deliver ROI as your business grows.
3. Research the alternatives.
When doing due diligence, it’s important to look beyond the marketing materials provided by a software vendor, which are always going to show their product in the best possible light. User reviews on sites such as G2 offer unvarnished insights into how products perform in the real world, but bear in mind that while individual users know how their own solution works, they may not have experience using competing products. To get a broader perspective, it’s also useful to look for expert opinions, such as analysts’ briefings and market reports.
Personal connections are also valuable as you’re shopping for software. Crack open your Rolodex and phone friends and colleagues who understand your company and your needs, or try quizzing your LinkedIn or Twitter followers to get product recommendations and warts-and-all stories about their company’s data-privacy solutions.
4. Avoid complexity.
When you’re trawling through jargon-filled corporate websites, it’s easy to start to feel overwhelmed. Many vendors serve up long laundry lists of features using highly technical language, and it’s tempting to simply assume that the companies with the longest and most complicated lists of features are offering a better product. That’s a mistake: instead of getting seduced by complexity, make sure you stay focused on the subset of features that add real value for your organization.
After all, while it’s true that ensuring data privacy can be a complex process, the solution you deploy needs to be elegant and effortless to use if it’s going to add lasting value for your organization. As with any other technology, the best data privacy tools are transparent and easy to understand, and don’t require you to dig through endless configuration tools and expensive optional add-ons in order to get the functionality you need. Simplicity, not complexity, is the key to generating real ROI.
5. Remember who’s in charge.
Buying software can feel a bit like buying a car — the salesperson is going to do everything they can to get you to sign on the line, and it’s easy to forget that you’re the one who’s really in the driving seat. Don’t let your vendor obfuscate or hide behind jargon, and don’t let yourself get locked into an approach that isn’t right for you. Make sure you ask the questions you need to — and get answers to them! — in order to ensure you’re getting the right solution for your organization’s needs.
The bottom line: you’re paying real money, and you deserve to get good value. If the vendor you’re working with can’t provide the solutions you need, then there are plenty of other options on the market that will deliver better value for your company.
It would be wonderful if you could buy enterprise software as easily and confidently as downloading a smartphone app. The reality, though, is that when it comes to data privacy the stakes are high, the problems are complex, and the solutions are both more expensive and more technologically advanced. That means there’s no alternative to doing careful due diligence, and putting in the time and effort required to ensure you’re picking a solution that will truly work for your organization.
At Ketch, we know just how much of a headache buying enterprise software can be — and we believe software buyers should never feel confused or out of their depth while making important decisions. That’s why we’ve got a team of dedicated specialists on hand who’ll discuss your needs, demo our data-privacy solutions, and make sure you’re able to make this important decision with absolute confidence. So get in touch today, and tell us about the problems you’re trying to solve.