A Baseball View of "Suites" vs. "Breeds"

By Steve Weissman posted 05-13-2011 13:13

  

The manager and general manager of a Cape Cod Baseball League team once assessed their club’s ouster from the playoffs by telling me, “This team had a lot more individual talent than last year’s championship squad, but it just never came together the same way.”*

While this story came to mind while discussing the currently sorry state of my Boston Red Sox – “don’t get me STAHted!” – it also sheds some perspective on another issue occupying my time: the debate over ECM suites vs. best-of-breed solutions.
 

  • Like lineups of ‘character guys’ who need each other to succeed, suites are appealing because they provide an array of solid functionalities that work together for a common goal. But because most are collections of talent that only recently joined the team, it can take a while for them to start operating as a unit, and be difficult to swap one for another should a problem arise.
     
  • Like lineups of All Stars, best-of-breed solutions are attractive because they string together stacks of special capabilities. But the pieces can be hard to identify and expensive to assemble, and the individual talents may be challenging to optimize in the context of all the others. (Sox fans see Crawford, Carl.)
     

The answer, of course – both on the field and in the office – is to first understand the parameters you need to work within, and then determine your quickest/cheapest/most effective route to a solution. Big ballpark with artificial turf? Then you may need a bunch of guys with speed and athleticism. Multinational corporation in a highly-regulated space? Then you may need a solution that’s heavy on the federation and strong on compliance.

That’s how you start to build a championship team.

*For those who don’t know, the Cape Cod Baseball League is the nation’s premier summer college league, a major contributor of talent to the pros, and a particular passion of mine! Another is helping organizations plan and execute successful information management strategies. So let me know if a little coaching can help you!



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