You can use the Compass in different ways to increase the efficiency of your publishing tech stack. Here are a few examples of how we use the compass and how it can improve your organization.

Publishing Tech Map

You and your team can use the Compass to lay out your publishing technology. Hence, you will have a better overview and understanding of what is going on in your publishing organization.

Match and Replace

  • Match and replace the tools with the actual names of the tools you are using internally. The compass will grow and you might need to change the size or orientation. But try to simplify the map by using the initial naming provided as your categories.

Assign Functions

  • Once you have the map, you can then assign functions to the different tools. Functions will give you a first glimpse on how the tools of the technology stack are working together.

Assign Ownership

  • To take it even a step further, you can use the map to assign ownership and responsibilities.
  • We like to recommend to split ownership and responsibilities in tool maintenance and tool functionality. For example: While your operations team maintains and monitors the billing platform, your monetization team will be owning the content and features of the billing platform.

Internal Glossary and Communication

Next to mapping out your technology stack, you can use the compass as a perfect guideline to create internal and external communication tools. Teams often drown in the amount of tools used in a publishing organization. Provide them a list of names with the matching use of the tool. A common language and glossary will allow for better and faster decision making. Because the decisions are made by educated teams. You will reduce misunderstandings and avoid teams from different disciplines to talk past each other when it comes to your service tools.

Data Flow Mapping

Data flow mapping is a more advanced use of the Compass. But something that can be done even by non-tech-savvy team members.

Mapping the data

Simply use the compass as a guide, remembering that all data is funneled through the middle.

  1. Define where the data input happens. For example: A user provides data by registering on the landing page.
  2. Define where the data will be sent to. To stick with the example: Data will be sent to the dedicated user data base.
  3. Define where the data is needed. Meaning, where should the data be able to be pushed to. As the example used user data, almost all tools will need the information. But each tool will need a different set of information.

Utilizing the data flow efficiently

The publishing teams will then be able to better map user flows, user funnels, and permissions needed. The information will provide specific data points, conversion points and tracking points. But it will also allow publishing teams to monitor, test, and improve on the data flow.

Another advantage of having your data mapped out is to be able to quickly  troubleshoot or analyse flaws in your system. Publishing teams are able to drill down to the most granular level which will allow development teams to focus on fixing the issue rather than wasting time on investigating. Of course, this is not always the case for all problems, but for the most of them. Allow your teams to stay focused and efficient!

Gap Analaysis

We love to use the Compass as a gap analysis framework. In order to help publishers we suggest to first get a grasp of the status quo and then determine where we want to go. The Compass is the perfect tool to do just that.

What do we need?

Don't start with the status quo. Start with what your ideas are and where you want to go! It is easy to get lost in an existing setup. Instead of pushing your team forward it will keep your team locked in a certain mindset.

So sit  down and look at what your goals are. Where does your online service want to be? Once you have a clear understanding you can look at the compass and decide on a minimum viable setup and an ideal setup for each tool.

What do we have?

Once you established your scenarios, you can use them as a baseline and map you actual status against it.

  • Define current technology stack
  • Define gaps compared to the MVP and ideal scenario

Your findings will then allow you to move on to the next step: Strategy and Project Planning.

Risk Management

You will be able to define risk and mitigation plans. Your organization will become proactive based on the results of any of the previous outlined use cases.

How to not use the compass

The compass is not a business plan. It will not give you “the” setup for success. But you will have a supportive framework that will help you finding a successful technology stack for your organization.

Also, the compass will not tell you what is wrong or right. What is right for you, depends on your strategy, goals, and quality expectations. The framework is a starting point for discussions and analysis. In addition, the Compass provides you an overview of what should be considered.