One Platform vs a Mix of Best-in-Breed Technologies: What's The Best For Your Business?
At the end of the day yesterday, there was a panel discussion about "best in breed" technology vs. "all in one" technology.
Each of the vendors on the panel took their positions and argued for and against. The conversation was spirited but one comment stood out from Nate Barad from Sitecore, analogising that,
“Best of breed technology is like going to a dog show and looking for the 'best of breed dog' that wins the overall show. Can you imagine what that dog would look like?”
I found this analogy powerful in looking at the tools needed by companies in today's market to compete in digital.
As in animal breeding, best of breed depends on the individual’s tastes and preferences. Furthermore, there is a dog for every need, be that a guard dog, or a great family dog.
In looking at the technologies that companies are using, the same analogy can apply. Many of the decisions being made about what to use are less about technology itself, but rather about the way that companies engage with that technology.
These can include: the process a company takes to making decisions, the personality of the decision makers, the marketing they consume, the risk profile of the company, and the technical biases of the technology teams, just to name a few.
If we take out the personality and political viewpoints in the decision making, we then have to deal with trade-offs.
If we look at the all in one platform, here are the pros and cons:
All-in-one Platform Pros:
- Unified interface across all the technologies
- Simplified training and adoption
- Integrated view of the customer
- Standardised approach to digital activities across the organization
- Single vendor relationship
All-in-one Platform Cons
- Flexibility with interfaces and 3rd party integration
- “Bloatware" having functionality you don’t need
- Upfront learning curve
When we look at best in breed technologies:
- Deep technology and targeted to solving specific problems
- Extendable and open integration
- Fragmented view of the customer
- External interface development
- Multiple implementations, with infrastructure and software
- Technology conflicts, interfaces, data, infrastructure
- Multiple interfaces
- Learning and onboarding multiple technologies
- Multiple vendor relationships
I’m sure there are elements I’ve missed in this quick analysis, but I think what the above points out that there is no winner in this debate.
The answer still remains “it depends”.
It first starts with the company’s needs. These needs do change over time, so what worked last year may not work for your business tomorrow.
It depends on the capabilities of the organization – do you have the people to deal with the gaps that each of the technologies present?
So in summary, when thinking of this debate, it can get complicated quickly. Resolving what technology to choose requires you to look internally at your company’s needs before you look for your company’s solution in technology.
Sam Saltis, in Chicago