Channel Champion Blog

There has been a lot of talk lately about using automated software as a comprehensive resource for a complete PRM solution (Partner Relationship Management). Such “Do it all” platforms are available on both SaaS and on-premise applications from vendors such as Salesforce.com or Siebel and others. The alternate strategy to implementing a single platform would be to integrate “Best of breed” applications such as those provided by CCI and other solution providers for your PRM application. There are pro’s and con’s to each, so let’s take a look at some of them below:

The Best Of Breed Approach:
Pros:
–Greater overall functionality: These single point systems are offered by specialists who know the application and channel inside and out, they realize all the variances that users can require
–Professional services personnel understand the business application, and as a result they are better able to help design the right program to meet your needs-especially if you don’t already have a complete set of “best practice” driven business rules in place
–In addition to program design and deployment, specialized services are available and can provide a more comprehensive solution overall.

Cons:
–Integration is required between applications from different vendors, as well as between SaaS and on-premise applications. This integration can be costly and time consuming
–Costs: the cost of managing several systems may (or may not) eclipse that of a single platform

Single Platform Approach:
Pros:
–Common look and feel across all applications for all users
–Common reporting tools that integrate metrics from multiple sources to provide a better overall picture of program or partner health
–Common infrastructure and program architecture on which to standardize all support and administrative resources, which may result in cost and management efficiencies

Cons:
–Essentially, the “cons” of the platform approach are the antithesis of the “Pros” of the best-of-breed approach:
–Can one platform really “Do it all”? There is likely to be some compromises in the functionality of a specific application
–Because you’re buying software only, there are limited specialized services and best-practices associated with a given application that will help you deliver a complete solution in certain circumstances

Well, I’m not sure there can never be any one answer to which is best for all companies in all occasions. Factors such as budget, time lines, business needs for customization, global programs and program type all play into which is the best fit. In any case, I’m interested in your opinion.

What do you think is preferable?

What are the factors that play into your choice?