According to the Internet Trends report for 2017, the average enterprise uses 91 marketing cloud services. To be fair, this number represents a broad suite of tools ranging from LinkedIn to Slack to Dropbox. Still, that’s a lot of tools to manage on a daily basis.
Because managing all of the various tech you use day in and day out is no small challenge, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more customers appear to be gravitating toward convenience. Instead of using 10 different pieces of technology, they’re opting to cut back on the number of tools they use to make their lives easier. It’s similar to the content we consume. People aren’t scouring the internet for various content sources. We rely on RSS feeds like Feedly, social media posts on LinkedIn, or publishing platforms like Medium.
Because of this shift in customer preferences, businesses are starting to provide more all-in-one solutions. For example, Adobe recently acquired Marketo, a marketing automation SaaS platform that was known to mainly support B2B marketing campaigns and lead management. With this acquisition, Adobe now has a highly competitive B2B marketing/lead management product that can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Oracle and Salesforce.
All-in-one tech can also reduce the time and mental investment you have to make in your work by automating recurring tasks or integrating key features into one platform. For example, in the early stages of Calendar, a company I’m a co-founder of, we started our market research by looking for specific tools needed in the calendar space. However, what we found was an oversaturation of niche, specific calendar tools. From a user experience standpoint, it was a pain logging into a bunch of different calendar tools to get the features that made work and personal life easier. We saw that rather than another niche calendar app, what users really needed was something that could cover the most important areas for them without them logging in to so many software tools.
Years ago, I would have advised others to find a specific niche and foster it, but with the eruption of specificity in each space, there’s a level of convenience I have learned that people appreciate and can only find in all-in-one solutions. You can expect this trend of consolidating technology to continue because it presents the following five benefits to users.
1. It saves money and time.
Right off the bat, this is the main benefit of the all-in-one technology trend. All-in-one technology can save you money, as either a business owner or in your personal life. Instead of purchasing multiple solutions, you can streamline them and purchase only the essential tech that you need.
Let’s say that you’re using several different marketing tools at your business. Wouldn’t it make sense to use a single interface so that you can reduce the cost and time of implementing multiple solutions? Because you’re using just that one marketing tool, you only have to train your team members in using that specific technology.
2. It simplifies implementation.
Consider what would likely happen if you introduce and integrate more than one tech solution in your small business all at once. Your team members may get overwhelmed at the information overload since they have to learn how to use multiple tech solutions. They may also get confused on how to use each piece of tech, which can result in your team making mistakes.
However, by using an all-in-one tech solution, team members only have to learn how to properly use and maintain the one piece of technology. They’re not wasting time going back and forth between solutions, getting distracted and frustrated. After they’ve been trained on the all-in-one tool, they can easily get back to work.
3. It offers faster and easier access to information.
It’s no secret that being able to collect and analyze data has been a popular trend in technology for years. The problem is that when you have various data sets all over the place, you can’t quickly and easily review them because you’re bouncing between solutions. That’s not the case when you’re using an all-in-one solution.
Because all your data is gathered and stored in one interface, you can easily access it whenever you need it. For instance, when using Marketo, you can engage with your customers through their entire journey with just one tool, as opposed to using multiple tools for lead management, email marketing, etc. This way everything that you need to know about your audience is in one convenient location.
4. It requires just a single log-in.
191. That’s how many passwords the average business employee has. As a result, passwords have become a serious security threat and a barrier to productivity.
According to Security Magazine, 81 percent of confirmed data breaches occur because of passwords. That can be a costly mistake for any individual or organization due to the time and money spent resolving the issue. And that’s not even taking into account the time wasted searching for or resetting lost passwords.
Switching over to an all-in-one technology solution reduces the number of passwords that you or your team must create, remember, and store. When there are fewer passwords, there are fewer chances of data breaches or spending valuable time resetting forgotten passwords.
5. It improves collaboration.
When you have a single, integrated system for data like customer information, it makes it much easier to share that info with various departments. For instance, your marketing team could pass along valuable customer information that your sales team could then use to close a deal.
That’s far more effective than compartmentalizing information, which can result in miscommunication, delays, and even a loss of vital information.
Some people might argue that staying specific is more of trend with products, and years ago I would have agreed. It was commonly thought that standing out for a specific niche feature was the key to success for new applications. But as all-in-one solutions become more common (as a result of acquisitions like Adobe’s purchase of Marketo earlier this year), consumers will increasingly demand the convenience of integrated apps. They’re looking for solutions that fill in all the gaps, not yet another username and password.