What does it mean to do business with a one-stop shop—does it mean working with only one vendor? Does it mean working mostly with one vendor and using a few other third-party applications? Does it mean being free from the restriction of any particular vendor?
The answer is probably “yes” to all three, depending on your company, but consider this for a moment.
As recently as five years ago, systems from major manufacturers were very proprietary and therefore very closed off from one another. Some still are! At that point in time, a one-stop shop was a necessity. If point solutions were purchased, they were many times difficult to integrate. There were strict limitations on what could work together, and it was very difficult to realize the full potential of all the different solutions.
However, since then, manufacturers have caught on. They’ve realized that if they aren’t providing APIs and open platforms for interoperability, they are limiting the usability of their solutions. Lately, major manufacturers have been providing software development kits or tool kits for interoperability. Even better, the niche players are ensuring their solutions can work with major companies so that customers can realize the full benefits of their solutions. As a result, many of my customers have created or grown their application development departments.
I still continue to be amazed by the sheer number of manufacturers that companies have to work with to run their Contact Center, Marketing, or Back Office operation. Typically, I see at least seven different manufacturers within a single large company. Think about it: if you have different manufacturers supplying your web interface, mobile applications, ACD, reporting, IVR, scripting, desktops, recording, workforce management, and CRM (to name a few)—it doesn’t take long to add up.
To these customers, a one-stop shop is clearly not a single manufacturer. Instead, these customers view their one-stop shop as a place where they can purchase different components from different vendors to find the right mix of solutions to fit their business needs. Further, these solutions are laced with professional and managed services that ensure their environment remains supported, even if they don’t have the internal team capable of maintaining hands-on control over it. These types of one stop-shops enable innovation to take place on the customer’s terms, by taking a methodical approach.
In contrast with what the name might imply, a one-stop shop should provide an abundance of new choices. It should be liberating, not limiting.
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