April 03, 2024

Best-of-Breed or Vendor Suite: Decoding the Cloud's Role in Your Application Strategy

Selecting the right cloud solution for your business’s application strategy will inevitably involve deciding between best-of-breed (BoB) applications or a comprehensive vendor suite. While best-of-breed tools offers a quick solution with highly specific functionality, they may not integrate well with your existing system architecture. A vendor suite approach allows more flexibility within a cohesive data structure.

When deciding, look beyond convenience; find out whether a best-of-breed or vendor suite is right for you and do not sacrifice your long-term strategy.

The Truth About Best-of-Breed

The benefits of a BoB approach in the cloud may seem appealing at first, offering specialized applications with quick implementation and time-to-value (TTV). However, it is important to ask: Is BoB a good option for long-term success?

Let’s explore why this strategy may not always align with your business strategy. Outlined below are some of the limitations of best-of-breed technology:

● Cohesive reporting is a challenge because of the complexity of integrating different technology systems that are not built to work together.

● Decentralized data applications prevent your company leaders from developing an effective business strategy because it is difficult to get a single source of truth that guides operational decisions at the pace of business.

● Best-of-breed solutions can get pricey —and quickly! Every new solution presents another application integration issue, which requires resources to overcome. The result can be a spider web of data that requires consistent maintenance.

● Even small companies need a large development staff for smooth deployment and ongoing software support when implementing a best-of-breed approach.

When your data exists within different systems, you end up with more manual work and a heavy reliance on spreadsheets (whether you like it or not), further complicating your operational efficiency, overall strategy, and decision-making.

With this workflow, you end up with:

● No single source of the truth
● An insecure data management system
● Nonexistent real-time visibility
● The inability to proactively mitigate risks
● More obstacles against making reliable business decisions

Maximizing the Role of the Cloud with a Vendor Suite Solution

Vendor suite solutions offer an alternative to best-of-breed solutions.  With a vendor suite solution like Infor CloudSuite Industrial, users gain a wide range of capabilities, industry-specific insights, and support within a single, unified data ecosystem.

 Additional benefits of using cloud technology in your application strategy include:

● Business continuity, keeping everything running smoothly and accurately.
● Unified data architecture with all applications running within the same database.
● Highly secure, data-driven platforms hosted in the cloud.
● Less manipulation of data and testing is required.
● The ability to respond and adapt faster to market and supply chain disruptions.

Best Practices for Choosing Your Cloud Application Portfolio

Each option has its advantages and considerations, but we recommend the following best practices to ensure your solution aligns with your organization’s needs and goals:

1. Prioritize a unified data architecture. Ditch the disparate systems. Even with modern cloud architecture enabling more best-of-breed products to work together, your applications aren’t guaranteed to speak the same language and facilitate a seamless flow of data.

2. Evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO). Measure your long-term cost of ownership, looking beyond the initial cost. Cloud-based vendor suite options often include reduced integration costs, lower maintenance fees, and streamlined support structures that give you a more flexible — and affordable — user-based pricing structure.

3. Have a clear strategic direction. This cannot be emphasized enough. In manufacturing, aligning this before deploying a solution ensures that your application portfolio is positioned to support your business well into the future.

Developing an application strategy that looks beyond short-term gains will be key. Consider how you will address scale, industry needs, and customization, building real value for your business.

If you are unsure about where to start or if it makes sense to upgrade your software solution, reach out to Guide Technologies’ knowledgeable team for a free introductory health check. We welcome the opportunity to understand your business’s needs and goals and help you develop a cloud strategy that can solve your unique and complex business challenges.