When looking for an ERP system, there are two solutions to consider. A Best-in-Breed solution is when a combination of solutions is purchased from different vendors. For instance, a human-resource solution may be purchased through one vendor while a warehouse management system may be purchased through another vendor. On the other hand, an integrated suite is an all-in-one software.
Some of these solutions include licensing, training and support, functionality, and administration and maintenance.
When a best-in-breed solution is purchased, separate licensees must be purchased. This could prove to be expensive in the initial set up of an ERP system. However, over time, this could prove to be a cost efficient solution, as the renewal fees tend to be smaller and may be spaced out.
An integrated system’s initial cost can be smaller. This is usually accomplished by “bundling” products or offering extras. By having one, integrated system, there are less contracts to keep track of and renewal only happens once.
Training and Support
A best-in-breed training may be extensive as each system will require their own training. This may prove to be difficult, since individuals are only trained on their specific package, and will have to be re-trained if they are needed on a different project/software.
An integrated system training is sometimes easier due to the common interface among all the components. By having a common interface, it is easier for a company to develop upon existing skills, rather than teach new skills for each project. This can be a huge time savings and completion of projects can happen much quicker.
Best-of-Breed vendors tend to develop and update their user-specific product more frequently, giving the end user the ability to remain up to date with software. Some best-of-breed solutions also provide customizable solutions based on the needs of the end user. This allows a company who needs a larger number of users to operate the same software as a customer who needs a larger inventory count, with minor interface changes.
It is difficult for a single integrated system to excel in all areas and meet the needs of the entire enterprise. Many times, an integrated system will excel in one specific area, also known as its functional “sweet spot”. By selecting one software package, there runs a large risk of second rate software in some areas.
Administration and Maintenance
When considering the complexity of having a best-in-breed solution, a company, especially the IT department, needs to consider the amount of servers and overhead each solution requires. A integrated system will only require one server, while a best-in-breed solution may require one server per solution. This can be eliminated, however, if some of those solutions offer cloud based servers.
When a single integrated system is used, it is easier to determine a “single point of truth.” This means a single definition or calculation is used across the board and will alleviate communication errors between products.
A recent study conducted by inventory management solution reviews site Software Advice reveals that 73% of companies prefer a best of breed solution over an integrated suite.
To determine if a best-in-breed solution is best for your company, contact QStock Inventory today.