Let’s compare the two options, based on what we know to be the tangible business benefits for resource planning, workforce management and enterprise task allocation.

While all-in-one Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have been the first-choice software solution for public and private sector organisations for much of the past two decades, more and more of them are now turning to hyper-focused, best-of-breed systems instead


While ERP systems try to be all things to all people, best-of-breed systems have a much narrower focus. This allows them to carve out their niche much more deeply within each relevant functionality. They also tend to get updated more frequently, meaning that they pull further ahead of ERPs that are operating across multiple areas of expertise.

Retain International’s software is a pure best-of-breed resource planning solution that has been specifically designed to handle complexity. In fact, there’s a very good chance that functionalities are included to meet your future needs even before you know what those needs are.

User experience

The fact that best-of-breed solutions offer more powerful capabilities within their functional areas of focus than ERP system do can make it more likely that you people will accept and use them.

Most ERPs have developed from core accounting, human resources or manufacturing requirements, and work in much the same way. As such, the needs of operational users — the people delivering your success — may not be met. The interfaces are frequently complex, presenting too much, often irrelevant information; this drives up your training requirements and drives down users’ acceptance and overall experience.

Retain’s software is aimed at its users’ specific profiles, making it highly intuitive, more easily adopted, and easier and quicker to train people to use.

Implementation time and cost

Where all-in-one systems can take many months, or even years, to implement, best-of-breed systems can usually be up and running in a matter of weeks. Because they involve fewer stakeholders and offer more specialised solutions, best of breeds have fewer implementation requirements and are less time-consuming than ERPs — making them a good fit for teams that need results today. And their ROI can generally be measured in months rather than years.

With Retain’s Resource Management solution, you can manage your resources more effectively, driving up efficiency, boosting utilisation and facilitating your clients’ needs more quickly, while the unrelated finance, HR and procurement systems are being delivered in the back office.


Having a sustainable solution is a major long-term benefit, as you can add additional systems as you need them and review solutions on a case-by-case basis. While many people think ERP systems are scalable solutions due to all their functionality, the reality is that they are frequently cumbersome and clunky.

Retain’s software supports your current needs as well as your future ones. It’s proven to manage complexity – the very same complexity (multiple resource types, clients/projects and billing types) that adds huge costs and delivery times with ERP software.

Provider choices

When selecting an ERP, having to accept some degree of compromise is inevitable. As best-of-breed vendors, however, it’s very much in our interests to make sure that you achieve your objectives — all of them. After all, if you don’t like the specific product or the service they’re supplying, it’s a lot easier to switch from one provider to another.

Retain’s resource planning and skills management software is trusted to be the best-of-breed in resource planning and skills management for some of the largest firms in the world, gives you a central, resource-centric platform around which to build out your management reporting, project forecasts, billing, recruitment and much more.

Ease of integration

Recognising the need for integration between our solution and systems such as SAP, Workday, Peoplesoft, Salesforce and Oracle means that we have gained deep experience of integrating Retain with all classes of software to meet our clients’ broader CRM, finance and HR requirements.

For all these reasons, a best-of-breed solution may be a closer fit for your business than an ERP. With the growing realisation that the latter can take many years and many millions of pounds to implement properly, choosing a solution like Retain may be better for your business.

Not only does it provide you and your people with an easily adopted, highly functional software, it also delivers real business value at the earliest opportunity. It’s no wonder so many FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies, including the Big Four accounting firms, rely on Retain for their everyday staff planning.