CEO Corner: Best of Breed vs Integrated CMS

All this talk about CXM being DOA has got me thinking about the age old question when it comes to CMS – or software in general for that matter.  Should you try to build the world into your software, or focus on specific capabilities and integrate for the rest?

In 2005, the book Blue Ocean Strategy rocked boardrooms around the world with the ultimate ‘duh’ moment: if all you do is copy features of your rivals, you will always be one step behind. So why do companies coalesce into a ‘red ocean’ of feature parity, indistinguishable products, and *gasp* commoditization? Let’s call it ‘keep up with the Jonesitis’: The need we all have to compare favorably against our peers. If my product has the same features as yours, then no one can say mine is worse or worth less.

The great products are the ones that carve their own path. The ones that zig when others zag. Think Apple, Google, Volkswagen, Red Bull and all of the coolest brands.  The ‘blue ocean’ strategy is to create your own market and then dominate it. This is a lot harder and riskier than simply copying what your competitors do. 

In the CMS world, there is definitely a tendency to go ‘all in’ with features. Case in point, the whole ‘CXM Suite’ thing which I consider to be non-existent and Real Story Group warns “customers should remain wary of”. On paper, there is a lot of merit for integrated software – everything is in one box, one invoice, one “throat to choke”, one system to learn, etc. It also gives comfort to customers and investors that you’re doing something to keep up with the industry.

In reality, people have been around the block and they are comfortable using multiple systems. I bet 90% of marketers today have had exposure to Google Analytics, MailChimp, Marketo, YouTube, or close approximations of these. It’s not a huge mental leap for them to use multiple systems at the same time – especially if they get maximum results.

At Agility, we’ve always taken the best-of-breed approach. Partially because we believe it is the best for our customers and partially because we are bootstrapped, so we’ve always had to be selective with our development investments. Our customers appreciate that the CMS knows it’s place as an efficient, reliable tool for managing content.  They like that they can use the tools they’re used to for video, analytics, email and marketing automation.

What do you think? Should we pack as many features as possible, or be the best in one area and partner for the rest?