The Rise of Best-of-Breed Technology and the Death of Single Platform Vendors

The Rise of Best-of-Breed Technology and the Death of Single Platform Vendors

David Henry
David Henry

Customer experience (CX) goes way beyond measuring sentiment at single points in time—it’s about carefully orchestrating and optimizing the entire customer journey to move the needle on strategic business outcomes. Yet too many organizations rely on one-size-fits-all solutions to manage complex customer relationships. 

Strategizing throughout the full cycle of the customer journey means making each stage a priority. Traditionally, your organization likely adopted tech solutions as they go, by department, or as needs arise. This process raises a fundamental conflict: Should businesses rely only on the tools available from single platform vendors? Or should they adopt best-of-breed technology at every level and focus on making them work in unison? Single platform vendors like Salesforce and Adobe have oversold the promise that they can deliver journeys if you buy every piece of their technology offering stack. However, this has been proven not to be the case.

Tech of All Trades, Master of None

Most companies offering expanded services for customer journeys are doing so through acquisition. For example, Salesforce has expanded their SFMC (Salesforce Marketing Cloud) offering by acquiring and bolting on other technologies like ExactTarget, Evergage, and Pardot. How does this type of strategy play out in reality? Many single platform vendors start as category leaders and cobble together other technologies, but in reality they don’t natively work well together and it locks customers into using technology that will inevitably lead to a subpar customer experience. 

Competitive companies are going to choose competitive solutions. That means not settling for the convenience of single platform vendors, but instead focusing on building cohesion among best-of-breed technologies. This enables businesses to be more agile and adopt the best technology to meet constantly evolving customer and business needs. 

The Question of Integration

The reality of integrating data and information in single platform vendors can be more challenging than advertised, ranging from incredibly difficult to impossible. Many small businesses rely on legacy technologies, and many even have homegrown tech stacks. As a result, integrations can begin to feel like going to the DMV—repeating information until you get caught in a chicken-and-the-egg legality loop. Even with a hybrid system that relies on cloud tech and on-premises servers, comprehensive system integration is a constant maintenance burden, and an entire industry in and of itself as tech leaders respond to existing tech solutions.

Your future tech will be built to the latest codes and software updates. Specialized platforms will always have more agility in their integration to new systems—just like a party of two will be seated before a party of ten at a busy restaurant on a Saturday night. 

Pushing Past Limits

Data science is moving a mile a millisecond, giving businesses from every industry incredible power in their strategy and decision-making. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are being adopted by forward-thinking companies across the globe, providing everyone unprecedented access and perspective. Does your single platform vendor allow you to incorporate 1st and 3rd party machine learning? Or are you being limited to the native AI/ML solutions within your vendor, unable to capitalize on the advancements of other third-party technology or—worse—your own data science investments?

The Security Dilemma

Still unsure of the merits of best-in-breed tech? Consider the security dilemma—a political science theory that lays out the cost/benefit analysis of an arms race. Using four quadrants, the security dilemma illustrates four different outcomes depending on how two players act. The same principle could be applied to technology.  It turns out that one quadrant drives the most business innovation: You adapt, and you thrive.. If you maintain the status quo, you’re likely to watch everyone else move ahead. The most competitive companies will be the ones adopting the most specialized tech solutions across departments and lines of business.

Interested in this topic and want to learn more about how Experience Orchestration (XO) can help you compete in the age of the customer? Check out the full whitepaper where we dive into this topic and more here.

David Henry
David Henry

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