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Best of Breed Solutions

Since the birth of software technology there has been a heated debate between limiting users to only implementing an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system versus ERP together with Best-of-Breed niche focused highly specialized bolt-on solutions. What’s the preferred approach?

The argument for ERP exclusively is that you get seamless integration providing all required function. Occasionally ERP vendors provide basic minimum function, not comprehensive enough to meet specific user needs. The reality is the ERP vendor may have acquired added value software solutions to enhance their offering and it becomes apparent when the user experiences a different look and feel as they migrate to the specialist functional areas. There are cases where acquisition was made without regard to architecture and leaving much to be desired in terms of supporting function and flexibility for the user community.

If you select a best-of-breed supplier there is no guarantee that all is copasetic in that camp either. In general there are two classes of bolt-on providers. At one extreme the software company management attitude is they have built the perfect mouse trap and you take it, or leave it. Often the vendors internal motivation is that continued upgrades and enhancements cost money and impacts profitability. It may also be that they just don’t have the funds required or industry knowledge to add missing function. In the other camp bolt-on software vendors are constantly reinventing and enhancing their solution with a passion to be world-class leaders in their field. Here you find an active user group involved with development providing constant upgrade ideas for the software—to the point that the user community IT group complains about upgrade frequency.

There is no harm in going with a fully integrated ERP system if it meets your needs. Your challenge, with or without support from service companies like ours, is to determine your short and long term functional business requirements, and make a wise investment choice for your particular set of circumstances to deliver a solution that provides a healthy return-on-investment. This can be achieved with either the stand alone ERP or best-of-breed approach.