While many of us are embracing custom solutions and Marie Kondo-style decluttering in our personal lives, we’re still choosing one-size-fits-all blanket solutions when it comes to our digital platforms. It just seems easier and less daunting when you’re using dozens of different tools, right? In reality, it can waste money and make you less agile.
You can purchase technology that rolls all of these tools into one convenient suite of products, such as Adobe Experience Cloud. But we’ve found that most companies that do so don’t use the majority of their suite’s capabilities (even if they’re paying for all of them), and often end up supplementing with other tools that better fit their needs.
You may have seen the phrases “best of breed” or “composable” floating around your LinkedIn feed. These terms represent an alternative to buying a singular suite of products. Instead, it’s an approach that empowers you to pick the platforms and tools that best fit your needs and to have full control over your online presence.
What exactly is best of breed?
“Breed” refers to the different categories of products, technologies, and tools that allow you to interact with your customers digitally. A “best-of-breed” tool is a leader in its own category. This means that it’s a piece of technology that is designed to be really good at one specific piece of that experience, such as content management, ecommerce, or analytics.
Using best-of-breed tools allows you to optimize your customer’s experience while only paying for what you’re actually going to use.
These tools fit together in “stacks” (another buzz word you might have heard), or the collection of technologies that power an application. Here at FFW, we build stacks that connect your digital channels to give your customer a consistent experience throughout their online journey (and if you want ANOTHER buzz word, this forms a “digital experience platform”).
Because the tools are connected but not completely dependent on each other to function, it’s much easier to swap one out and replace it with the next big thing than in a traditional website. It’s like swapping an old car battery out for a new one instead of buying a new car.
And this matters because…?
A best-of-breed approach to your digital experience makes different aspects of your platform flexible without having to start from square one when adding new technologies or capabilities.
- You use the best tools to optimize your customer’s experience and to make managing them easier for you and your team. This allows you to tailor each customer’s experience consistently across all of the ways they interact with you digitally.
- It saves money in the long run because it allows you to upgrade your digital tools as new, better options become available.
- For the same reason, it allows you to scale your digital experience over time as your needs — and your customer’s needs — change. This also saves you from a full revamp of your platform when you want to make major changes.
- Updates, patches, and upgrades to one stack do not affect the others, making your whole system less likely to break.
What would this look like for me?
Since best of breed’s purpose is to tailor your digital platforms to your organization’s needs, the answer depends on your business and your customers. For instance, a powerful ecommerce platform that tracks your customers’ activities across many sites might be crucial to a B2C company but unnecessary for a B2B company that works with a smaller client group.
There are so many technologies to choose from, and so many ways to fit them together, that finding the right mix for you can be a massive undertaking.
As our Director of Partnerships Ricardo Osuna says, “You could buy the best technology in the world, and it's just gonna sit there unless you put all this other thought to it.” To make the best use of your tools, it is just as important to build a practice around how to use what you have as it is to have the right tools.
We can help you think through the three pillars on which to build that practice — technology, data, and experience design — to make sure you end up with the best option for you and your customers. We’ve done this with companies such as LUSH, NBC Sports, and Panasonic North America. Check out how we helped Panasonic bring their 13 brands under one umbrella using best-of-breed tools. And contact us if you’d like to chat about how we can do this for you.