If I may paraphrase Shakespeare’s Hamlet for a moment, there comes a time when every enterprise software customer must face a strategic decision: should we purchase multiple point products from one or more vendors and stitch them together to meet our needs? Or should we purchase a product suite from a single vendor to try and meet our needs? There are pros and cons to each approach. Let’s take a cursory look.
Purchasing and stitching together multiple point products
- May be able to select “best-of-breed” products for specific pieces of functionality
- Not locked into one vendor
- Point product sprawl
- Internal cost of stitching the products together and maintaining this stitching as the products change over time
- Fragmented support from multiple vendors or product groups along with potential finger-pointing
Purchasing a product suite
- Avoid point product sprawl
- The vendor bears the cost of stitching the functionality together and maintaining this stitching over time
- A single support “throat to choke / hand to shake”
- Functionality may not be as deep as points products for every piece of functionality
- May be locked into one vendor
As you can see, there are multiple factors to consider before making such a strategic choice. Each organization must decide for themselves which approach is best for them. For example, organizations that are very decentralized may opt for a multi-product approach where each group uses their own preferred tools. Whereas, a more centralized organization may prefer a suite approach where the organization leverages the same product suite in a unified fashion.
To suite or not to suite, that is the question.
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