In yesterday’s post, we discussed how you can get up and running in the cloud with minimal downtime or interference. Today, however, we would like to discuss the importance of best-of-breed applications in amplifying the benefits of the cloud—ramping up the speed of implementation, offering you even lower total cost of ownership and faster ROI, and providing your team the software it needs.
What is Best of Breed Software?
In simple terms, best-of breed (or best in class) software is a focused application. Rather than choosing an all-encompassing, monolithic application that touches multiple business lines, a best of breed application is designed to suit the needs of a specific function. This has long been a highly politicized debate in the software selection process, and the debate has been raging for nearly 50 years.
Prior to the rise of the cloud, each side of the debate made headway, pushing toward suites during crises in the 70s and early 2000s, and best of breed during times of economic stability. However the move toward best of breed has taken off, regardless of economic conditions, in the past decade for three major reasons: The push toward the cloud, the diversification of business, and the sheer amount of solutions available.
Now, departments can get a software with all the functionality they need at an affordable price. Sales departments can get the CRM they need, HR can get the HCM software, and payroll can choose on their needs, knowing that each application is built to work with others. Learn more from the Intacct blog, Build Your Own Ecosystem with Best in Class Applications.
Best of Breed Makes Software Selection Easier
What’s the hardest part about selecting software? Getting everyone on board. Selecting a suite requires buy-in from dozens of parts in your organization, and someone always gets the short end of the stick. Even in the heyday of enterprise suites, if half the organization wanted SAP and the other half wanted Oracle, someone was “compromising (losing).”
Even today, there are a multitude of cloud suites. That doesn’t make the selection process any easier or the prospect of compromising any more pleasant. So don’t.
When looking at best of breed applications, you need to include fewer teams, and everyone can get what they want and need. Much less “compromise.”
Best of Breed Cuts Implementation Times Further
If cloud can cut down an implementation time, opting for function-focused software can drive down the time and costs even further. According to Panorama ERP research, in 2015, 57% of ERP (suite) projects had cost and duration overruns and 7% of projects failed. This is a dangerous thought for businesses who make massive investments to make a project happen only to hear over and over that a partner needs more time and money to make a project happen.
Comparatively, best of breed applications, by nature, affect less of your business at once, and get to take the concept of “minimal business impact” to a new level.
Think of an implementation project like a surgery. The doctor (your implementation partner) can either go in, complete the surgery, and have the patient out the door and healthy quickly, or the doctor can open up the patient, increasing the risk, cost, and recovery time.
If they both had the same end result, which would you choose? A risky, intervention-heavy implementation or a minimal intervention surgery (or series of surgeries) that had less risk and equal if not more reward.
Huge ROI, Rapid Payback
As mentioned in our previous blog, the cloud offers both rapid payback and big returns on investment in the form of increased productivity and lower upfront costs. Now imagine that you are not only picking the best application for your specific business and business line, but you are stacking the odds in your favor by reducing the implementation time and risk by choosing a best of breed cloud application.
For companies taking part in this, they are seeing massive ROIs. For example, cloud visionary and best of breed accounting and finance software Intacct has crunched the numbers and found that on average, its customers achieve an average 250% ROI with the solution and less than 6-month payback period.
The cloud makes updates and upgrades easy, completing update projects when you’re off the clock, pushing updates through with no manual work on your behalf. Now, updates have to be easy, and provide minimal interference with your business, because most best of breed software solutions update more often than a suite. Since a best of breed provider can put all of its R&D into making one product better (as opposed to spreading money across multiple platforms), updates are more frequent and more user-focused.
Additionally, since best of breed solutions were built to integrate, the updates are completed with integrations in mind, so you won’t lose a connection, for instance, between finance and CRM. For suites, the answer is a bit more ambiguous, as most of them were built to be the “end all, be all,” so an update can leave your IT team scrambling to make fixes to an integration—all because Bob in sales wasn’t happy with the CRM offered by the suite.
All While Offering the Security, Control, and Scalability You Deserve
Not only are cloud applications inherently more secure than on-premises ones, the decision to build an ecosystem of applications will also help your IT team to mitigate the risks of Shadow IT. The biggest problem with suites is that certain modules end up becoming “shelfware” when professionals decide to break away from the suite to choose something more efficient.
Unfortunately, it’s much harder to find a product that can connect a suite to a “non-approved application.” This leads to a situation where an employee “goes rogue,” adding a tool without IT support to make his or her job easier. Unfortunately, an unvetted, unapproved software connected to your most important business processes isn’t exactly a boon for safety or security.
By letting people choose from a list of approved applications (as opposed to one), you get better security due to better adoption.
Conclusion: Cloud + Best of Breed = Winning
When you look at the cloud, the best way to amplify the advantages, minimize business interruption, and get up and running is to leverage best of breed applications to take the value further. While we feel that we’ve presented the facts, if you’re still not convinced, we’d love to field your questions. Get in contact with rinehimerbaker to learn more.