August 9, 2012

Best of Breed that’s so 90’s, it’s now Best of Suite

Five years ago I wrote about how there was a consolidation in Business Intelligence (BI) tools and in 2010 Q3 the same thing began happening in the Enterprise Marketing space (e.g. Unica, Aprimo, Assetlink, Alterian).

While I’m generally not a proponent of free market consolidation, I have seen some advantages to the best of suite capabilities that are being developed in the enterprise marketing space.  As the dust from these acquisitions is finally starting to settle we’re seeing:

  • A commitment to more product R&D
  • The union of once competing solutions forming stronger products
  • Complementary tools being integrated in to robust solutions
  • Large company operating models (which is a doubled edged sword)

Please don’t misunderstand me; Best of Breed will always have its place.  For instance, when you need a special tool for tackling a specific and/or complex problem.  However, it’s becoming more difficult for a craftsman to get by with an adze and little else – it’s great for the man who makes canoes by hand, but not as useful to the person building a house.

These Best of Suites options have allowed us to think more robustly – giving us integration opportunities we only hoped for 10 years ago.  But it also gives us pause to think because we are not just making a tool choice, but a whole suite choice.  To continue the carpentry metaphor: am I going to use a Metric tool kit or a Standard (English Unit) one?  And once you make your investment, it’s hard to reset so choose wisely.

In about a month I will be able to check-in on one of these Best of Suite solutions when Covalent Marketing sponsors IBM’s Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando.

At the conference I’ll be interested to hear what they have to say about:

  • What’s going to be in Unica’s V9 release later this year
  • How others are being innovative in the Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) space
  • How the EMM suite of tools best fits into IBM Smarter Commerce offering
  • How are analytics changing the way we market, and the speed of doing it
  • How are EMM suites going outside their normal boundaries to inform CMOs to deeper and better customer relationships
  • How to be half as inspirational as the event host Guy Kawasaki

If you’re going to be there too, or if want to hear what it was like, reach out to me at @swillins.