IBM, Oracle and Salesforce -- three "Digital Marketing Platform" vendors we recently updated in our o Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations -- have created their suites by acquiring numerous companies, many of who in turn had previously made their own acquisitions.
So if you want to do "end-to-end digital marketing", should you go with one of these suites or opt for point solutions?
In theory, there are obvious benefits of going with a single mega-vendor: it's easier to manage relationships, licensing, contracts, and so forth. The vendor might also give you a single point of accountability, should something go wrong.
However, as things currently stand, the suites are not nearly as integrated as the vendors would like you to believe.
IBM EMM is a loose collection of about fifty distinct products of diverse origins and architectures. Some of the pieces of EMM are integrated but many are not. Salesforce.com only recently took some first steps by introducing ”Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio". Oracle's story is slightly better -- you can now access all of the services that Oracle acquired from a single interface that connects everything via single sign-on (SSO).
Also, it seems likely that these suite players will make further acquisitions in this space, because there are still gaps in their offerings. So while these vendors have a vision of providing "end-to-end digital marketing", it will take time for them to truly integrate their offerings, if at all.
Nevertheless, many of products that these companies have acquired were well regarded on their own. So for now, you should evaluate their features based on their individual merit and not based on the fact that those services are part of a larger suite.
In fact, in Digital Marketing, whether you actually need very tighter integration between these modules itself is a debatable aspect. So instead evaluate individual offerings within the suite and spend some time understanding how easy is it to integrate with external products such as your Web Content Management or Portal platforms.
We have more details about these platforms as well as many other vendors in our forthcoming update to Marketing Automation and Social Technology evaluations. You can download a sample here.