The days of closed consumer systems and captive audiences are largely over. People are used to having both variety and specialty providers to choose from. Suffering retail department stores are a great example of this trend. If you focus on being everything to everyone, you end up doing everything just OK.
Pick your comparison – athletes, tradeworkers, surgeons, whatever – the highest performance or quality comes from specialists in their fields. Nobody wants an OK doctor, an OK cabinet maker or electrician, and nobody pays to watch OK athletes compete (unless you're the parent of one of the kids on the field, but that's different. That's just good parenting.)
The same dynamic is true for technology platforms. Systems that offer to do everything for you will generally offer you a decent suite of products, but it’s likely that nothing will be extraordinarily awesome. That’s why it’s the greasy spoon diner in the middle of nowhere that only has a handful of items on the menu that people end up flocking to. That place knows what it’s good at, and focuses on it.
There’s a reason for the cliché that reads, “jack of all trades, master of none.” That pocket multi-tool will cut stuff, turn a screw, or even open a bottle of wine, but it'll be awkward and you'd get frustrated if it was the only knife, screwdriver, or corkscrew you owned.
The best technology platforms do not try to be all-in-one solutions that claim to solve every problem. The most successful are the ones that do what they do best, but allow for other products and services to integrate. Imagine a world where all the best-in-class technology comes together and works seamlessly. Isn’t that the ideal solution?
In the accounts receivable management industry, there are service providers that are excellent at what they do. Whether its printing letters, dialing phone numbers, or processing payments, you can find companies that have spent years, or decades, perfecting their systems.
If a technology provider is truly interested in what’s best for you, they won’t force you to use an all-in-one solution. You would be encouraged to choose additional vendors you like and integrate them into your operation. Every collection agency or department is unique with processes and priorities unique to their market differentiation or business model, so using a cookie cutter solution is the wrong strategy. The system, or platform, should be malleable to your priorities and integrate useful outside technologies from experts in their fields. It's just the right way to do it.
The technology you use should not be self-limiting. It should open doors and allow you to work outside the box, instead of forcing you to stay inside. Open platforms allow you to access best-in-class solutions and let them all work for you.