Software selection: There is no right or wrong, is there? Best of Breed vs All-in-One solution

Raise your hand - who is the one who is extremely annoyed when IT says that a certain application programme cannot be integrated into the system landscape? Or the other way round: who sits in the IT department of a company and dreads the demanding calls from colleagues? Who actually decides which enterprise software a company works with? And above all: what is the better enterprise resource planning: complete solution or best of breed?

One of the biggest challenges facing both medium-sized companies and corporate groups is to adapt flexibly and agilely to permanently changing market conditions and to adapt the system landscape accordingly through their own IT. The catalogue of requirements for enterprise software is extensive:

- Legal and data security must always be up to date.

- Rights and roles must be adaptable to individual employees and departments.

- Applications must be combinable and compatible with each other.

- The individual solutions must meet current requirements.

- And last but not least: the applications should be intuitive to use. 

What a company needs is an overall concept that covers every step of the workflow and includes comprehensive tools and functions. In other words, an egg-laying meadow monkey. And this raises the question: complete solution or best of breed?

In favour of the complete solution: all application programmes are compatible with each other and can communicate with each other, data and information are available for exchange and there are no barriers. ERP complete solutions cover all application areas, integrated cloud solutions promote agile working and the provider ensures that the programmes are always up to date. So why even consider best of breed?

Let's take the example of the manufacturing industry: here, product data and life cycle management as well as product design, CAD, sales, ticket management, production, machine connection, production control and planning, warehouse, personnel, etc. must be handled via the ERP system. An endless list of requirements that also change over time. It is more than difficult to find a provider (even industry-specific) who can do this. If you take a complete solution, you usually have to make concessions on some points.

Best of breed, on the other hand, means no compromises. A company's system landscape is put together individually according to its actual needs. The solution suites of various enterprise software providers for sub-areas combine to form a comprehensive solution for the overall requirements. Companies choose the BEST solution for each business area and not just one possible solution and replace it again if necessary, for example because business processes change or new legal requirements have to be taken into account. The problem: integration via interfaces. Here, a company may face increased costs for implementation and maintenance, of the enterprise software or even incompatible interfaces.

The solution: best-of-breed strategy

But what is best? Is it possible to make a blanket statement? No, but companies that want to do justice to the highest demands with as little effort as possible are best served by the best-of-breed strategy. They look for a provider who offers an all-in-one solution as standard, but also connects specialised systems that meet the individual needs of the company.

This also creates a highly agile, adaptable system that can react to changes much more quickly and cost-effectively. Optimal, flexible business processes with the best possible IT support also create competitive advantages. The IT landscape is then not a brake on the company's success, as is so often the case, but a driver.

best of breed

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