Well, having recently accepted that touch point analysis has a lot more merit than I once believed, I feel it may be a good idea to look at the technology that will let us run these analyses as well. I did research on touch point management solutions before I started talking about this methodology.
The problem is, there are only a handful of dedicated touch point management systems, and most of them aren’t very good. The reason for this is rather simple – it’s not a mature niche. While this analysis method isn’t something new, it’s always been handled by general purpose office software, and honestly, that’s usually for the better.
The Abstraction Problems:
The real problem is that there’s no one way to map these, and they can get very complex and intricate if you’re mapping stuff beyond contact with you directly. It very quickly becomes a branching tree that turns into a bit of a tangled web, and not many things are really good for that kind of illustration.
So, that really puts the pinch on developers too, in trying to make a program that open and free, but with rigid logic behind it. For now, that’s really out of reach. What does this leave us with?
The One Thing:
The one dedicated system I can talk about is touchpoint dashboard. And the real problem is that I can’t find much on this system. It looks like it works well, but it also seems to me that the very modular grid representation is a bit too ambiguous.
Yeah, the tangled trees and so on of touch point mapping can get a bit sloppy, but at least the associations with that are clear and defined. But beyond that, it looks very easy to use and very easy to follow, so I’d say it’s probably good.
I’d like to talk more about this one, and some others, but I can’t get a lot on this without requesting a demo, and that takes time. And, there’s not much else out there that’s any better documented.
What People Use:
So, how do people map this without dedicated software? Well, any number of ways. Regular graphing software such as Office and the like work for simpler ones.
More complex stuff can be handled by Visio or the like, as well. Others use freehand systems like Flash in conjunction with a repertoire of premade symbols, to map these out.
Some CRM solutions also have some nascent functionality for tracking (versus illustrating) for this analysis. Salesforce does, as does Netsuite. And, the app sources for both can extend their capacity for this yet further.
In the future, as standardly accepted models are adopted for how to properly map these, software will move in that’s more dedicated to it, and touch point management will become much easier to do. For now, we’re still mostly stuck with our tool chains and so on to get this job mostly done. When new software that actually dedicates to this well comes around, I’ll be the first one to make sure you know about it, because that’ll be a heck of a day.