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All-in-One Marketing Solutions: Hope or Hype?

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It’s the classic software showdown: all-in-one platform vs. best-of-breed solutions. In this corner, one solution promises to do it all with a single vendor and pre-built integration. In the other, a collection of technologies from multiple vendors provides deeper functionality. Marketing and IT leaders are facing this dilemma more and more often as the number of technology solutions in marketing begins to overflow.

It’s not an easy decision and, for most organizations, takes careful consideration of current demands and future needs. An IT leader recently described this situation as “the labradoodle decision”: if you need both a labrador and a poodle, that doesn’t mean you should go get a labradoodle. It may be cute, but it isn’t going to satisfy your needs.

Because creative assets play a central role in so many marketing processes, digital asset management (DAM) is one of the capabilities frequently bundled into solutions. These lightweight asset-storage features are a good option for some buyers, but it’s worth taking a close look at your needs to be sure those features can handle everything you’ll throw at them. The wrong decision now can create havoc down the road.

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There’s a lot to like about the all-in-one option. Who wouldn’t want to solve five problems with one solution – and deal with fewer vendors, enjoy simpler implementation and require less training? You just have to watch out for a jack of all trades that’s a master of only one.

All-in-one solutions tend to have a super power – one feature or component that runs particularly deep and works particularly well. Often this is the capability that led to the product’s initial success. However, to satisfy more use cases and grow, these products must expand capabilities. In many cases, this happens through acquisition. The new bolted-on features make sense on paper but are often poorly integrated and fail to meet expectations – like forcing a puzzle piece where it doesn’t fit. In other cases, new features are developed as native functionality but lack the depth you’d expect in a purpose-built application.

For many organizations, a product that checks a lot of boxes without a lot of depth in any particular area may actually be fine. But for others with greater demands in more areas, a thin feature will prevent people from doing their job well and, ultimately, hurt the performance of your team.

What is the best option for the needs of your organization? Find out with our latest guide Jack of All Trades or Master of One.

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Stay up-to-date with the latest resources, tips and must-know news for enterprise marketing, creative and digital asset management professionals.

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