August 21, 2014

Big Suites or Smaller Niche solutions: Which will best fit your organization?

The big suite vs. small niche solution debate will wage on as long as there is software to debate over. Oftentimes this is not an industry debate, but an internal debate. Which solution your company selects will depend on company culture, business needs, and internal ability to support the solution.

Besides evaluating the software’s functionality against your day to day business needs, each organization needs to consider what their internal organization is able to support. There are a few variables that every organization should evaluate:

  • Hosted or internal: What is your IT department set up to manage internally hosted software and how much control does your business need over its software?
  • Integration:  Will you need to integrate any of your niche software solutions? Will you need to integrate with any other departmental software (accounting)? Have you considered your data flow process? How will all this impact reporting?
  • Reporting: Does your company plan to use the reporting that comes with the software or do you have a data warehouse that utilizes a BI or visualization tool?
  • Internal experts and overall team: Niche solutions or big suites require the need for several different experts (MRM, Digital Asset, Campaign, Real Time, Reporting). It is important to ensure that these experts speak with each other to align the technology needs.
  • Employee education program: Can you support training the team on several niche solutions? What modules of a big suite will employees need to learn? Can your employees handle learning several different tools or modules?
  • Niche Solution: If you decided on niche, the niche software needs to be enterprise wide. Each business group should not have its own campaign software, there still should only be one niche campaign software solution.
  • Big Suite: Rolling out a larger software solution typically takes more time and resources. Your internal team should be prepared for a longer ramp up period.


There is not a “best practice” for selecting one or the other. Carefully considering your answers to each of these will help you decide if you are looking for best of small niche solutions or best of suite. Be sure to not only consider your business needs, but what your business can support.