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Agile CXM Won't Be Crafted with a Swiss Army Knife

Did you know that the Swiss Army Knife is over 100 years old? There are more than 100 different models available and more than 34,000 leave the factory every single day. It's one of those multi-use tools that you like to have in your pocket for that moment when you need just the right solution. No wonder MacGyver carried one all the time.

But you wouldn't expect a carpenter to build your house with a Swiss Army Knife, or that an artisan would use one to craft a fine piece of furniture. We have to believe that even MacGyver, given his preferences, would rather have a set of proper tools to defuse bombs if they could only be made portable.

The Times They Have A-Changed

Since the beginning of modern business technology, one of the most vitriolic debates within the IT department has been should we adopt a suite of applications or deploy a best-of-breed solution for each element that we need?

Business users, technologists, agencies, analysts, everyone seemingly has an opinion about which approach will deliver the right approach of features, ROI and ultimate benefit to the business. And, for many applications, this argument can be persuasively made for either side. But for today’s new marketing processes, where new challenges for dynamic content experiences across multiple channels emerge every day, the need for adaptability and new components simply make the argument clear. To create a strategy of what Geoffrey Moore calls “systems of engagement” enterprises need a best-of-breed approach for CXM.

Reason #1: Marketers Feel The Need For Speed

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Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP, Michael Brenner wrote last year about the opportunities and challenges of being in marketing in today’s environment. Citing a Business Marketing Association study, he noted that of CMO’s surveyed:

  • 97 percent see the pace of change accelerating
  • 34 percent feel overwhelmed by the change occurring
  • 21 percent feel that the skills for which they were originally hired are now obsolete

To put it simply; they know the need for change is here — and that they must change rapidly. And, in order to overcome the “knowledge gap” CMOs and IT Professionals must work much more closely together to make the organization truly agile with content. As I wrote for CMSWire late last year in an article called CXM: A Strategy That Really Needs Smart Technology:

(CMO’s must make) decisions in tight alignment with their technology teams. They will be invaluable in ensuring real time integration with multiple data sources, the ability to manage multiple channels and that the solution will truly scale and perform over time. And regardless of whether this technology is packaged as a 'suite' of tools — or as an integration of 'best of breed' solutions — at the center of the technology strategy is a very strong solution to manage and display content experiences in a completely dynamic and liquid way."

However, suites simply are not (or cannot) keeping up with the innovations that are happening with best-of-breed solutions. And that brings us to reason number two.

Reason #2: Technology is Innovating Faster Than Marketing can Keep Up

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One might argue that software is just now coming of age, reaching the tipping point for where best-of-breed applications are more compelling. New models of software delivery — including cloud, and more importantly hybrid cloud, and standards-based API’s — makes the old argument of sacrificing functionality for integration one of the past.

Today’s “all in one” software suites that deliver content-driven experiences simply don’t allow for easy integration with all the different types of “apps” that marketers must have the ability to spin up. In his latest marketing technology vendor landscape, marketing technologist Scott Brinker identifies more than 900 different vendors that are being integrated into the marketer’s “stack.” This is something that Digital Clarity Group’s Robert Rose called the “appification of marketing” in his session at Intelligent Content 2014 and this interview with CMO.com.

 

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