In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, the times are changing’ when it comes to the ways in which organisations approach their software needs.
In the past, best-of-suite enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have reigned supreme. Businesses purchased these all-in-one, large-scale solutions with the promise of one source for all the data and information that powers their organisation.
But many companies and public sector bodies have had negative experiences with ERP systems that have been dogged by multi-year implementations and infrequent updates. Others find themselves stuck with ageing software that has forced them to devise unconventional workarounds and manual steps outside the system. This is not just inefficient—it also compromises the integrity of their data and leaves them with an incomplete picture of their overall business.
As a result, organisations are now favouring a different approach with a more agile type of software: best-of-breed.
What is best-of-breed software?
Best-of-breed is the strategy of selecting specialised products to meet your business requirements. With this approach, your business chooses the best system - typically in a particular niche or category - that performs specialised functions better than an integrated system does.
Rather than trying to find a software solution that is ‘everything to everyone’, many businesses are preferring to implement best-of-breed systems in several functional areas and linking them together.
Benefits of best-of-breed
Let’s look at the business benefits of best-of-breed for resource planning and management:
Deeper functionality—solutions that do exactly what they say on the tin
By definition, best-of-breed solutions are hyper-focused on doing one thing well. By specialising in one area, a best-of-breed approach offers newer technology and more extensive capabilities than companies providing broader applications. Software updates are generally more frequent and and there is usually much greater product innovation.
Improved user experience
The cornerstone of good user experience is designing solutions with end users’ needs, behaviours and values at their core. Thanks to their narrower scope, best-of-breed solutions can provide a user experience that is tailored to the primary user’s day-to-day needs in respect of allocating resource better, widening resource pools and breaking down silos, all in an intuitive learning environment.
Less time and cost to implement—ROI in months, not years
Because they involve fewer stakeholders and offer more specialised solutions, best-of-breed systems have fewer implementation requirements and are less time consuming than ERPs—making them a good fit for teams that need results today and can’t wait for a lengthy implementation.
Scalability and agility
Nobody expects their software implementation to fail but, in reality, many of them do. Best-of-breed solutions have much lower implementation and start-up costs than ERPs, eliminating the risk of getting locked into an all-encompassing system that doesn’t work.
You are not tied to a single provider
When selecting an ERP, having to accept some degree of compromise is inevitable as it’s highly unlikely that each component exactly matches your requirements. When working with best-of-breed solutions, you match your selected software to your exact current and future needs.
Ease of Integration
Employing more than one best-of-breed solution doesn’t mean that your data is doomed to be siloed. Best-of-breed solutions offer significant flexibility, allowing you to connect multiple systems through light integrations or simple processes.