Like so much in IT, there has long been disagreement when it comes to software strategies. Some advocate best-of-breed technology solutions, trading on their market-leading functionality, while others prefer the simplicity delivered by best-of-suite solutions, which offer broad but sometimes average capabilities. Fortunately, with the rise of Hybrid Integration Platforms, businesses no longer have to choose between the two.
To get to the bottom of this ongoing debate it helps to understand the difference between best-of-breed versus best-of-suite.
Best-of-suite software generally offers a core function or application with supporting features operating on the peripheries. The core model is considered the flagship and will serve as the main attraction. In a best-of-suite approach companies will be dealing with just one major provider.
Best-of-breed, meanwhile, is considered to be the best software on offer, but in a very niched capacity, executing its function very well, but often at the expense of versatility.
Rather than buying a product suite from a single vendor, organizations which take a best-of-breed approach will cherry-pick various tools, each serving a specific purpose. They will buy each tool from a different vendor and then integrate them to perform specialized solutions.
When further unpacking the pros and cons, it’s easy to see why some CIOs would love to find a way to access the best of both approaches.
Finding the Best Building Blocks
Many CIOs see best-of-breed as a way to ensure each department has the best on offer. Here are some reasons why they back this approach:
Not many people want to be tied to a one-size-fits all solution. Best-of-breed solutions give organizations flexibility to shop around for the best solution for each function and department. Best-of-breed solutions tend to be smaller and can be implemented more quickly. The reduced project time reduces risk and allows companies to see benefits sooner.
Realizing the Vision
The smaller building blocks of best-of-breed solutions allow the Enterprise Architect to realize their vision more accurately. A best-of-breed approach gives smaller businesses the opportunity to start small and grow their technology stack alongside their business.
When selecting the best tool for each of your departments, you are also ensuring that your staff are getting the most bang for your buck. If something goes wrong in one application, it won’t necessarily impact other departments and hinder production.
At the same time, everything comes at a cost. Some of the downsides to best-of-breed include:
- Complexity - There will be more vendors, more databases and more administrative work in a multi-system environment.
- Cost - buying the best is never cheap and this can make best-of-breed strategies costly very quickly, which can be prohibitive for smaller businesses.
- Integration - integrating third-party tools can be difficult and time-intensive and many businesses may not have the skills required for integrating each individual system.
- Managing data - some organizations struggle when it comes to managing data from multiple software systems. Sharing and integrating data can also be a real drain on resources and result in compromised integrity and data redundancy.
Why a Single Vendor or Best-of-Suite Appeals to Many
Working with a single vendor was particularly prevalent in the early 90s when ERP really took off. However, it could be argued that many years and many, many acquisitions later, none of the big software vendors could truly offer a single-vendor solution. That said, there is still much to be argued for the best-of-suite approach. This includes:
One Throat to Choke
Perhaps the biggest benefit is that dealing with one vendor means you have greater control and more accountability for performance across your organization. having one representative for debugging, process management and workflows allows for improved operational control, in comparison to having multiple vendors to work with.
One and Done
Big bang implementations come with their own challenges, but many prefer to manage and deploy once to avoid ongoing disruption. Instead of a multiple software implementation and countless hours of onboarding, a single solution cuts that time immensely. Not to mention using a single best-of-suite solution also lowers licensing costs due to volume discounts.
All systems and functions are integrated into a single interface and software suite making file sharing and interdepartmental collaboration easier. Users are also able to work within the same interface rather than having to switch between modules.
Just like best-of-breed, no one approach is all good. Some of the downsides to best-of-suite include:
- Trade-offs - no matter how great the vendor, add-ons will often fall short of the same excellence with best-of-breed niched solutions. IT leaders will either have to convince their teams to live with the missing functionality, or resort to best-of-breed add-ons where essential.
- Less flexible - this route can leave you with a more rigid system and little room for specialization or niche requirements.
- You’re buying the farm - companies will have to live with the fact that their license may include functionality that is neither needed, nor will it ever be used.
- Shadow IT - these budgets may become a reality when your users realize that they need additional functionality and add other applications of their own accord.
- Security - when non-vendor additions get added in, security is often neglected. Conversely, having a single vendor stack also means there is just one system to breach that will bring the whole operation to a standstill.
Hybrid Integration Platforms Allow for a New Approach
While the best-of-breed versus best-of-suite approach may still have room for discussion, ensuring your company can integrate data from all its systems, quickly, efficiently, and accurately should never be a debate. More importantly, by adopting a hybrid approach, organizations can finally adopt a Best-of-Both solution, secure in the fact that however they construct their stack, they will be able to access their data across the entire enterprise.
Synatic’s Nimble, Simple and Powerful Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP) is a true hybrid solution of iPaaS, ESB, ETL, API Management, and Big Data, created to provide a holistic solution that allows you to make the most of a Best-of-Both approach. Allowing you to deliver value with incredible speed. We can deploy in our cloud, your cloud, or on premise as you need.
Synatic provides a highly integrated and simple-to-use data engine for data manipulation. By combining a simple drag and drop UI with a growing collection of web, data, storage, and
enterprise system connectors, Synatic offers the ability to quickly deploy various best-in-breed and best-in-suite solutions allowing you to capitalize on the benefits of both approaches with none of the draw backs.
Synatic’s HIP solves your data management challenges associated with bridging on-premises and multi-cloud applications and data silos. Because hybrid integration allows you to seamlessly integrate between cloud and on-premises applications in a multi-system environment, it doesn’t matter which approach your company has adopted. You can rest assured that the Synatic team will work alongside you to get the most out of your systems, no matter how diverse they may be - solving the age-old debate once and for all.