BEST-OF-BREED: THE SOFTWARE STRATEGY FOR TOP PERFORMANCE
When companies are looking for digital solutions, the question of software strategy arises: Best-of-Breed or Best-of-Suite?
14 April 2022 · Christoph Bertram
Companies use software solutions in almost every field of activity. Digital applications increase productivity, from transport logistics to accounting, and customer service. When it comes to software selection, there are different strategies: Best-of-Breed and Best-of-Suite.
WHAT DOES BEST-OF-BREED MEAN?
The term 'best-of-breed' can be translated as 'the best of its kind/profession'. The solutions are the best software programmes for a single business area (HR, finance, logistics, customer service, purchasing, ...). The software developers develop and distribute systems that focus on a specific task area. In contrast, there are manufacturers of complete solutions that cover several departments of a general area at the same time (such as field service).
From the user's point of view: in a best-of-breed strategy, the company uses the software with the functions that best fit its specific needs for each task area. For example, companies may use a different software provider in their HR area than in procurement or sales. They do not tie themselves to a specific developer, but select the provider or programme that seems most suitable to them in each case from the entire range on the market.
Best-of-breed brings decisive advantages:
- No global dependence on a single developer/provider
- In the event of a system failure, only one area is affected
- Maximum flexibility when selecting the software
- In each case the ideal solution for the field of activity
- No extra charges for unnecessary functions
- Lean implementation and quick changes are possible
THE SOFTWARE STRATEGY: BEST-OF-BREED OR BEST-OF-SUITE?
The best-of-breed approach is contrasted with the so-called best-of-suite approach. In this second strategy, the company opts for a complete solution from a single software manufacturer. The advantage is that the IT landscape is not composed of several different systems but consists of solutions from a single provider.
Well-known examples of a suite are, for example, the Microsoft Office package, Adobe's Creative Suite or SAP's Business Suite, which includes applications for finance, sales and human resources.
A best-of-suite approach ensures that all the programmes you use are compatible with each other from the start. Files are easy to manage and there are few problems when using them. In addition, the acquisition costs of software suites are often cheaper than if you buy each programme separately.
In return, you must accept that the software may not be able to handle everything or that you may not even use a large number of the functions, even though you are paying for them.
BEST-OF-BREED IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND SERVICE
At first glance, a complete solution from one source seems more economical than several individual solutions. Once you have decided on a software provider, you save the time and costs of searching for additional programmes. In the long run, however, a best-of-breed strategy almost always pays off. Since each area can use its 'specialist digital tool', it works more efficiently and adds more value. Best-of-breed software unlocks the full potential of your business.
In order for your organisation to function well as a whole, you must harmonise the individual systems with each other. When selecting software, pay attention to issues such as compatibility and integration capability (interfaces). The configuration of interfaces and data imports is an important step in the introduction process of a software.
IDEALLY SUITED FOR COMPLEX REQUIREMENTS
It is often easier with best-of-breed to implement additional functions and tailor the software exactly to the needs of your company. However, a prerequisite for a productive strategy is that all programmes are well linked ('seamless'). Data exchange must be uncomplicated. Otherwise, constant switching between different programmes will cause unnecessary time expenditure and discontent among your employees.
Best-of-breed software is particularly suitable where high performance of a business unit is required, and complex requirements exist. Because the solutions are developed specifically for the respective task area, they are better suited than global solutions and get more out of them. With a best-of-breed approach, you optimally position each of your areas.
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