There are many reasons to choose one brand over another, such as features, longevity, and price. But when choosing an EPM solution, the brand itself may be the best reason.
The expression, “the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts” certainly applies to the subject of brand. A brand is what you get when you add up all the attributes of a particular company or offering — its name, category, reputation, history, features, benefits, price, user experience — everything. And yet, as everyday life teaches us, a brand is a lot more than just a basket of attributes. It’s what sticks in the mind when we think about a company; that is, if we think about the company at all. Successful brands are compelling in their own right. These are the brands that are on almost every prospective buyer’s short list. They are the brands that inevitably come up in conversations about a particular product category. They are the brands most frequently found in a Google search. They are typically the brands most represented at relevant industry conferences — very often as a keynote. And they are brands that less established competitors usually compete against.
That’s the thing about successful brands — we already know who they are. Like Oracle. Whatever specific brand attributes are most important to a buyer, the simple fact that the brand is top-of-mind makes brand itself one of the most important factors to consider. That is very much the case when buying EPM. Success as an EPM brand means:
A bigger reference base. If a brand is hugely successful then you don’t have to go far to find companies that use its product or to find industry authorities that review the product. The brand of EPM you buy will have a huge impact on your business. Obviously, then, you don’t want to buy in an information vacuum. The bigger the brand the more information, and the more authoritative information, will likely be available.
More trained users. A bigger user base means finding users with Oracle skills is easier than finding users familiar with lesser-known products. That can reduce the time and cost of recruitment and training. It also increases the likelihood that more of the product’s features and functions will actually get used, thereby increasing return on investment and your ability to finetune the product as a competitive weapon.
More trained technical resources. What applies for users also applies for the technical resources employed to support and enhance the product. A bigger technical talent pool can translate to lower support costs, a better user experience, fewer business disruptions, and all the other advantages that come with having lots of knowledgeable technical resources readily available.
Deeper Pockets. Successful brands generally have more financial resources to invest in things like product development, customer support, and market research to better align future products with customer needs.
Longevity. Big vendors are also more likely to last, unlike small vendors which tend to fail or be acquired. Bigger brands therefore expose customers to less risk that products and product support will go away, leaving customers with no future path.
More competition. A bigger brand is a bigger target for competitors — you’re the one everyone wants to beat. That may seem like a weakness but is actually a strength since it forces the successful brand to stay sharp, and to stay sharp on all fronts. By working with a more successful brand, customers are therefore more likely to get “the best of the best” from a single source.
A bigger partner network. Oracle has hundreds of partners in categories that include implementation services, cloud managed services, applications on cloud marketplace, Oracle validated integrations, partner applications running on oracle, and Oracle resellers. Oracle validated integrations, for example, have been tested and validated, both functionally and technically, were built in a repeatable manner, and perform as documented. A bigger network means a bigger choice of integration and implementation partners, thereby forcing partners to excel. It also means customers will likely find all the functionality they need already on the shelf rather than have to build it on their own.
Enterprise scale. When offering and supporting an enterprise class product it helps to have enterprise scale yourself. EPM can touch virtually every area in a customer’s business, which means that an EPM provider should have expertise in all those areas in addition to having the technical and people resources needed to actually apply that expertise across each customer’s business for all customers. Only a very successful EPM brand is likely to have the required scale.
Of course, every company has its own priorities to consider when looking for EPM. But the most important consideration may also be the most obvious: a big successful brand got that way for a reason.