Quick, when you think of companies that make complicated technology user friendly and approachable, what’s the first name that comes to mind@f3

Apple, right@f4

Well, if you’re a 21st-century marketer, that name should be IBM and its revolutionary Universal Behavior Exchange, or UBX.

One of the most painful parts of any integrated marketing program is, well, the integration part.

Most companies with integrated marketing programs have legacy systems that probably aren’t going anywhere, multiple internal and external data sources, the need to leverage the services of multiple vendors, and an IT team staffed with people who already have more than enough to do.

What’s more, marketers have a dizzying number of technology offerings to choose from and they know that if they want to understand customers and prospects across multiple channels-hint: they do-they’re going to have to select and integrate at least some of them.

Traditionally, integrating all the pieces and parts of a multi-faceted marketing program, or even integrating a new vendor or two can take months. Also, budget and staff constraints can hamper the implementation of point-to-point integrations.

As someone who specializes in integrating and migrating digital marketing assets, I have witnessed firsthand how difficult integrations can be, and that’s even with the Red Pill team on hand to help make things go more smoothly.

And even when point-to-point integrations go relatively smoothly, there is the question of turning all the integrated bits and pieces into easily understandable, actionable data that offers insights across channels.

With UBX, IBM has taken these pain points head on by building an open eco-system that gives clients point-and-click integration access to a slew of features and vendors-even vendors that compete with certain IBM offerings.

In building UBX, IBM realized that simply telling clients IBM could meet all their needs wouldn’t cut it with some marketers. Most clients already have vendors and technology in place that they would prefer not to leave behind.

Sure, IBM has an analytics solution, but some clients will prefer Adobe, or Google Analytics. Through the UBX interface they can turn on IBM’s Watson Customer Experience Analytics, or they can just as easily turn on one of the other analytics solutions that they prefer instead.

And lest you think IBM is only integrating secondary or minor competitive services through UBX, Epsilon is in there, as well.

Currently, UBX offers about 40 different vendors and more are on the way.

All it takes to integrate a vendor is clicking on the company logo in the UBX interface and entering the credentials that identify the IBM client as an authorized, licensed user.

UBX allows IBM clients to easily execute several day-to-day marketing strategies in a more effective way, taking into consideration customer interactions and behaviors across channels. These strategies include abandoned-cart nurture campaigns, seamlessly activating customers in social, mobile, group messaging and ad-tech channels. Integrations are available with CRM, eCommerce, Loyalty and Survey platforms as well. The user interface is about as intuitive as anything I’ve seen.

IBM also has UBX partnerships with RocketFuel, The TradeDesk and MediaMath and other demand side platforms, allowing clients to make targeted media buys without having to rely on an agency and integrate those buys directly back into their systems.

From where I sit, some marketing-services providers not named IBM have a bit of catching up to do.