Disruptive Innovation through End-to-End Solutions

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This is a primer for business people. You don’t need to be a techie to get this.

In my last post, I explained how businesses are leveraging disruptive technology to outperform their competitors by accelerating the customer journey.

In this post, I’ll explain how end to end solutions are used to disrupt markets and help start ups dislodge incumbents.

And the way most of them are doing it is with software that delivers a complete functional solution from the beginning to the end of a transaction and that’s often done with a vertically integrated software stack that help people collaborate cross functionally.

The beginning of the customer experience usually begins on Google or Amazon or Yelp. But for B2Bs, the CX often goes from Google to their company’s website.

By making website development easy, WordPress now powers almost 20% of the Net. In fact, this is a WordPress site. But WordPress is a best-of-breed, niche content management system.

You wouldn’t call WordPress an end-to-end solution, because the only way to get WordPress to handle the back office functionality like planning, purchasing, finance, payroll and human resources is to manually integrate in a third-party Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, like Salesforce, Oracle, Zoho or SugarCRM. WordPress isn’t an end-to-end solution. 

End-to-end solutions home runs business processes from beginning to end with no analog work arounds. All procedures and workflows are neatly thought through and integrated into one tidy solution.

You don’t have to send an email to someone on your organization to complete a task. Instead, that information moves seamlessly from one department to another.

End-to-end solutions make you faster, because customers can buy and employees get things done quicker, so the customer journeys accelerates.

The key to disrupting your market is finding a way to sell and deliver your product or services easier and quicker than your competitors. Integrated solutions, that allow you to complete end-to-end processes seamlessly, enable you to do that.

When you place an order on Amazon, it doesn’t need to be processed manually by an individual. It triggers a series of digital actions that result in your getting your order and your credit card getting charged. The process is automated.

And that’s why integrating a stack of best-of-breed software products from different companies is always going to be riskier than using a set of products that are already integrated and designed to play nice together.

The dirty little secret is that in the software world, integrations are limited, and those limitations are often not fully understood or disclosed by the software vendors who sell on the promise of tying their solution into others.  But even if there was full transparency, it’s unlikely we’d be able to appreciate the impact of their short comings prior to implementation.

End-to-end software from a single provider — one software provider that does it all — is relatively a new phenomenon and used to be the exclusive domain of enterprise customers, but that’s not the case anymore.

In my next post, I’ll explain the benefits and drawbacks of vertically stacked versus integrated, best of breed point solutions.

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