Playing to win with enterprise technology

No matter what industry you’re in, enterprise organizations across the map are eyeing the most efficient, best of breed tools to power their workforces. When it comes to do-it-all platforms, however, don't believe the hype.

business collaboration mobile network team messaging
Thinkstock

Enterprise technology is like baseball: a lineup of varying levels of ability wouldn’t stand a chance against best-in-class players, carefully selected for their unique skillsets that perfectly craft a team.

As much as we hate to admit it, not every player on your favorite baseball team can knock it out of the park. As fans, we tend to overlook these flaws to remain loyal. But as a CIO, your loyalty should remain unwaveringly with your employees. This calls for a fantasy baseball approach (with a permanent number one draft pick) where you pick and choose best of breed solutions to keep the odds in your team’s favor. If your company requires tools that support thousands of unique, talented and diverse employees, one solution will never be enough.

Decades ago, teams would build websites and manage digital experiences using tools from a single product suite, but the market has long since matured; and this approach no longer computes. As an enterprise software veteran, I have no qualms to admit that one vendor can’t possibly meet the needs of every developer, marketer, sales representative and C-level executive all at once. Successful enterprises need a wide range of technology, and should look first and foremost for platforms that accommodate best-of-breed solutions for CRM, marketing automation or analytics tools.

All-inclusive platforms diminish the opportunity to adopt innovative solutions that come to market in each area of your business. The nuances of keeping a global organization running are unmatched by any one platform to date—and the moment you’re convinced otherwise is when you pull in the benchwarmers to finish off your digital transformation.

Base hits before home runs

Here’s what it comes down to: enterprises want technology that smoothes internal processes and delivers high quality customer experiences. To reasonably achieve this goal, you need an architecture for customized solutions, not a product suite that locks you in without catering to your unique needs. This places a heavy burden on CIOs and key tech decision makers who need to carefully evaluate the solutions on the market and assess their ability to meet this high bar.

Each day I hear from tech leaders at companies like Schwab or Warner Music Group about the challenges they face with their digital transformations. What I’ve found is a common thread: IT teams have been forced to evolve their best practices alongside emerging technology. For companies with tens of thousands of people, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s unproductive and basically impossible to rip and replace all your technology at once—especially when some of your existing tools have proven valuable.

Any digital experience platform that requires a full technology overhaul is unrealistic, not to mention expensive. What’s important to remember is that digital transformations don’t happen overnight, and don’t stem from a single investment either. Big companies typically find the most value in solutions that offer intuitive, customizable tools that enable a high adoption rate and a speedy ROI. With little damage done to your budget, you can make additional investments across departments. In a way, investing less in one platform allows you to invest even more in your overarching digital initiatives.

An approach you can bet on

At the end of the day, the technology you use should enable each employee to make a tangible impact on daily operations. Whether that’s boosting customer experience or closing more sales, technology that adds value to organizations on a global scale will hands down be the most effective. Unfortunately, a widespread impact like this is hard to come by with all-inclusive solutions.

No matter what industry you’re in, enterprise organizations across the map are eyeing the most efficient, best of breed tools to power their workforces. To ensure that every member of your team can perform to the best of his or her ability; don’t get swept away by all-encompassing platforms that seem to cover every base.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

NEW! Download the Winter 2018 digital edition of CIO magazine