Technology

6 reasons to choose best-of-breed software

By Gustav Anderson

Nov. 18, 2021

Summary

  • All-in-one systems stretch themselves too thin, underperforming in most areas and severely limiting what businesses can achieve.

  • A best-of-breed approach lets businesses mix and match a variety of specialized softwares, integrating them seamlessly with open API.

  • There are 6 key reasons why businesses should choose best-of-breed over all- in-one. 


For some, one of the cardinal sins of showering is using the notorious 3-in-1 wash. This unholy combination of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash is often a useless attempt at solving a nonexistent problem of inconvenience. Not only is it a lazy way to somehow make showering easier, but the three components counteract one another, in the end proving less effective at their designated functions when combined than they would as standalone products. 

Most likely you would not sacrifice the expertise of specificity for mere convenience in the case of personal hygiene – shouldn’t it be the same when it comes to software solutions?

All-in-one vs best-of-breed systems

The 3-in-1 wash of the software world is the classic all-in-one ERP system. These systems consolidate all the core business functions of a company into a single platform provided by one vendor. They provide basic capabilities for all departments, forcing every user to adapt to a shallow, yet serviceable, experience. 

The problem with these all-in-one software suites is that users between departments have very different needs. Oftentimes, these systems lack depth in many areas, leading to overall inconsistent user operation and mediocre functionality across the board. Instead of focusing on a specific core competency, these all-in-one systems build out a “features checklist” over time in order to upsell customers.

It’s a “jack of all trades and master of none” situation, if you will.  

The alternative is to select an array of software solutions from multiple vendors who each have a definable core competency. For instance, a company would buy dedicated workforce management software for scheduling and attendance, top of the line HCM software for human resources, a specialized CRM platform for sales, and DBMS system for finance and accounting. Each platform integrates seamlessly with one another, creating a software stack that provides the benefit of an all-in-one system without all the limitations. This best-of-breed approach makes up for what all-in-one suites lack in capability, flexibility, and depth.

For a long time, the debate between a best-of-breed stack like this v.s. an all-in-one system was hotly contested. However, in recent years, the debate is becoming somewhat of a non-issue, as the best-of-breed approach is becoming standard practice. In fact, according to a 2019 Gartner survey, only 29% of businesses preferred all-in-one systems; this percentage will only shrink as we move further ahead into the future. 

6 reasons for choosing best-of-breed

Selecting best-of-breed solutions from multiple software vendors is the smartest and most effective way to take a business to the next level. Here are the reasons why this approach is far superior to utilizing an all-in-one suite:

In-depth tools and functionality

Best-of-breed software comes with richer and more diverse tools due to its specialized nature. The expertise of the software empowers businesses with increased functionality to maximize performance within a particular niche.  

Vendor flexibility

With the best-of-breed approach, it is easy for a business to remove or consolidate systems over time as required. If something goes wrong in one area, that vendor can easily be swapped or paired with another while keeping all other systems in place. With an all-in-one system, changing vendors affects the entire company. 

Frequent updates

Best-of-breed software prides itself on retaining the title “best.” To do this, it needs to constantly stay up to date on consumer feedback and market trends, and react accordingly by rolling out new features and improvements. As a client, it’s always nice to be on the receiving end of these continual updates. 

Scalability

Having systems that are adaptable to change is critical. Best-of-breed software is designed to work for all clients ranging from small businesses to large corporations. As such, it is flexible from right from the beginning, capable of scaling as necessary to whatever changes a client goes through.

Seamless integrations

Open API is the standard now for best-of-breed software, allowing for easy integration and data exchange between vendors. For instance, the right workforce management system usually integrates perfectly with most payroll platforms, busting the data re-entry myth surrounding the use of best-of-breed. At this point, API integration is so advanced that a collection of best-of-breed vendors almost feels like a single system.

Faster implementation 

Rolling out an all-in-one system requires an enormous amount of time and near-endless planning. It is much quicker to implement a best-of-breed system for a specific part of a business. There are fewer moving parts, fewer people involved, and lower training costs. 

 

We are living in modern times. Modern times call for the specialization of labor; as such, best-of-breed software increasingly proves to be the right choice. Just as a general practitioner should not perform brain surgery, all-in-one software should not try to handle specialized functions that are far beyond their capabilities. Workforce management is one such area that often gets overlooked and lumped into underwhelming all-in-one systems – do not settle for this. 

Businesses everywhere should understand this and enlist the help of multiple software solutions that are best in breed. A software that does one thing, and does it well, benefits a company tremendously; the benefit is only compounded when other specialized vendors are brought into the equation. 

Gustav is a communications officer with Workforce.com. His past work includes media outreach for a Guinness World Record team and market research published by the University of Maine. He has a keen interest in storytelling, frontline labor issues, and all things relating to pigeons.

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