Stack Vendors vs. Pure Plays
BPM in Action blog (one of the ones I track in my RSS reader), you might have noticed a series of posts about Stack Vendors vs. Pure Plays here about the enduring debate, here about whether stack vendors stifle innovation, and here with regard to pricing. One thing that may not have been clear in my comments (and comments on Dennis’ blog are moderated), is that we don’t view stack vendors as bad and pure plays as good – there are simply trade-offs between the two. Stack vendors have some clear benefits:If you follow Dennis Byron’s
- Financial heft – typically they have deeper pockets than the pureplays
- An integrated solution – if the stack vendor invests appropriately, they’ll integrate the set of technologies they acquire into a better-integrated overall solution. The result is that customers don’t have to pay for that integration as a one-off, they can benefit from integration costs amortized over hundreds of customers.
- Large consulting staff – this can be considered an advantage if you want the software vendor to implement your solution.
- The ability to (try to) change the debate at any particular competitive situation to be one that focuses on the areas that are their strengths, and minimize the time spent on their relative weaknesses vis-a-vis the competition.
- Lack of focus and thought leadership in the market segment
- Underinvestment in some segments of their product offering – and it isn’t always easy to tell which parts are being starved for resources.
- Often innovation and enhancements take a backseat to platform consolidation in the first 12-24 months after acquisition.
- The large consulting staff can create conflicts of interest with respect to their software development (e.g. does it make sense to invest in a software enhancement that reduces the number of consulting hours it takes to deploy, if you derive significant revenue and profits from that consulting?)