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Solutions: A Platform of Best-of-Breed

October 27, 2019

Large technology platforms face increased competition from smaller, vertical players that provide better experiences, as highlighted in a recent a16z article.

One of the most effective forms of that competition often comes in the form of newcos who aspire to take chunks out of that emergent platform by better addressing the needs of a specific vertical within that platform—by creating a user experience or business model that’s much more tailored to the unique attributes of that vertical.

We see this in B2B software as customers seek a best-of-breed approach and choose to work with a variety of specialized vendors that offer a relatively limited series of capabilities, but do so extremely well. This approach ensures that every part of the application and IT environment is providing the maximum benefit for end-users and admins.

The challenge, however, is integrating all of these vendors so together they feel like a platform. To provide real value, vendors need to not only provide their capabilities very well, but must do so in concert with all the other vendors a customer is using. When vendors build and market product, they must do so with adjacent vendors in mind.

At a very minimum, they need to provide documentation and best practices on how to integrate with other vendors. A better approach, however, is a complete go-to-market motion with select partners where they provide their joint integration as a complete solution that addresses the customer’s needs.

This “meet in the market” approach allows best-of-breed vendors to present an offering that highlights the unique value-add of each, but does so in a unified, almost “platform” way.

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