Products I used to love before, are now so complicated that I can't even figure out how to use them anymore. What used to be a simple product focused on one thing is now an all-in-one mess of a product, trying to be everything for everyone. Example? Mailchimp. A simple newsletter app that we all loved because of its simplicity and fun personality turned into "All-in-one integrated marketing platform for small businesses". What does that even mean?
I've heard people say: "all SaaS products inevitably turn into all-in-one solutions to ensure a promising growth over time". That's what happened to Mailchimp. And that's what's happening to Intercom. But does it apply to all?
For enterprises, an all-in-one solution is more valuable than connecting different tools to each other to get their job done. For them, the fewer things they use, the more consistent their processes get and therefore fewer misalignments happen between teams. So for them, all-in-one solutions are the only solution.
For smaller companies, however, it's the opposite. They enjoy using different tools for different things. They have very specific gaps in their workflows that they need to fill with the simplest solution they can find. And if that solution integrates with their other existing tools then they are sold.
But it doesn't have to be like this. Enterprise products with all-in-one solutions can look simple and feel focused on one thing. Earlier I tweeted this:
1️⃣Simple: does one thing, for one group of people.
2️⃣Pro: does more things, for the same group.
3️⃣Advanced: does more things, for more groups.
4️⃣Bloated: does everything, for everyone.
Never go above 3️⃣.
All-in-one solutions are almost always 4️⃣.
The reason most All-in-one solutions fall into the 4th category is that they fail at prioritising their features. Unfortunately, most product teams, including Mailchimp, call it done once they've neatly organised features in menus and leave the rest for "Onboarding". A couple of beautifully designed flows that almost always doesn't work so they hire large teams of Sales and Customer Support to get people on their products and keep them there.
That's what we mean by Navigation System. While most teams obsess with Design Systems, we obsess with Navigation Systems. We invest most of our time on this phase of the product work. Understanding the relationship between features and the different type of users. Then we prioritise the necessary features to the right group of users, in the right places. This is how we launch large scale products for enterprises and governments with much smaller teams to maintain and grow them.
As an example, we just added a new All-In-One SaaS enterprise product to our portfolio: