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There are a number of assumptions implicit in the question of suite versus best of breed:

  • Definitely true:
    1. Individual products included in a suite may not always be best-in-class.
    2. Where two or more products are developed together, they may share design elements that make it easier for an administrator familiar with one to learn how to manage another.

  • Sounds good but not necessarily true:
    1. When two products are sold by the same company, they share technology and are easier to manage together.
    2. When two products are sold by the same company, they are already well-integrated.

Platform vendors and specialists

For the purposes of this document, a vendor is considered to be a platform vendor if they offer directories, databases or operating systems as well as IAM solutions. The main vendors that meet this criteria are Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and CA. Most of these companies offer multiple IAM products, often the result of acquiring smaller companies.

Other vendors offer only IAM solutions and so can be thought of as specialists. Specialists offer fewer products than platform vendors and have smaller sales teams, so are obliged to compete on the basis of the quality of their products, rather than the breadth of their offering.


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