ERP vs Best-in-Breed
Author: Sonia Turner, Sales and Marketing Manager
Published: 1st September 2020
Has Best-in-Breed Software Put ERPs On the Shelf?
Since the introduction of cloud based app style software, the intense debate on a single integrated ERP solution versus best-in-breed software has been re-ignited.
The debate for best-in-breed supporters has always been that a single integrated ERP solution cannot possibly meet 100% of an enterprises business process requirements and that there will be certain elements of the implementation that will suit certain departments better than others.
However, on the flip side, a single ERP solution ensures that those same departments are tightly integrated to ensure that duplicate transactions and processes do not occur. A very simple and basic example is that of an employee record. To keep the master record in the payroll system, what app do you use? The OH&S or the timesheet and scheduling app? Which record takes priority, and with multiple input points, how do you ensure commonality in the structure of the data, and if it is kept in multiple formats when using data analysis tools, which one is correct?
Because of the above, companies will pursue the idea of integration, and again the new detractors will advise that with the advent of open API’s that this is no longer as big an issue as a decade ago. However in our experience, we find the cost of a software implementation can very easily blow out or become cost prohibitive when integration between disparate systems occur, regardless of the new open sharing of data.
An integrated ERP solution’s new functionality is commonly upgraded as a single software entity via one software release usually every 12 to 18 months. Best-in-breed software, especially some of the downloadable apps, will release patches and releases continuously and automatically without the ability to choose when the release is installed. If integrations between apps has been implemented, keeping all of the software communicating and any change management that needs to occur is extremely fraught with risks and complexity.
The choice to select an ERP solution is seen as a long term strategic decision that impacts the whole of the organisation and requires careful solution design. It has also been the opinion of other best-in-breed software providers that due to its rather larger and complex nature, it is not able to keep up with modern day functionality and environments. We have seen however that ERP software vendors, with the introduction of cloud technology and lean development methodologies, are able to keep up to date with the times and in some cases where a larger R&D team is involved, is able to release much more stable and feature rich upgrades than their smaller counterparts.
One Size Can Fit All
A select few of the ERP vendors have acknowledged that an organisation does not have a one business process fits all mentality and that an ERP system still has to fit into an enterprise with minimal disruption. This has seen the vendor take a more holistic and lean approach to the implementation that has enabled even smaller companies able to adopt an ERP through a careful and more specific approach to their size, company roadmap and business processes than the more traditional way of blue sky thinking.
With experience in both types of implementations, if you are able to meet your business processes with at least 80% of the functionality of an integrated ERP solution, then this is still the most cost effective and risk adverse way than multiple best-in-breed software apps.
Interested in learning more about how our ERP solutions can help you drive your business towards greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness? Contact us through the form below.