10 ERP Questions to Ask About Best of Breed vs. Best in Class Enterprise Technology

10 ERP Questions to Ask About Best of Breed vs. Best in Class Enterprise Technology

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Best in Class ERP or Best of Breed ERP; what’s the difference and which is right for you?

When considering strategic implications, many of the ERP project teams we partner with ask for our assistance helping them understand the implications of “best-of-breed” and “best-in-class” ERP systems.

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Defining the Two Approaches

What is Best of Breed ERP?

A “Best-of-Breed” enterprise application provides an organization with specialized functions such as standalone quality management or inventory tracking systems. Best-of-breed systems allow you to pick and choose the specific modules or applications you need, ensuring a tailored fit for your business.

Customization:
Best-of-breed ERP  allows you to pick and choose the specific modules or applications you need, ensuring a tailored fit for your business. The best of breed software approach involves implementing smaller-scale, agile solutions that focus on specific functional areas, rather than being a “jack of all trades.”

Integration:
One of the biggest advantages of best-of-breed ERP is its ability to seamlessly integrate with other software applications. Unlike traditional ERP systems that often struggle to communicate with external tools, best-of-breed ERP thrives in the world of collaborations within the technology stack. Whether it’s integrating with your CRM, e-commerce platform, or third-party analytics software, this ERP variant ensures you have a comprehensive and interconnected system that boosts productivity and data accuracy.

The Best Tools for the Job:
Best-of-breed technology allows you to handpick the most suitable software for each department. By empowering each team with the best tools for their specific needs, you’re fostering efficiency and expertise, resulting in better collaboration and improved results.

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What is Best in Class ERP?

 

These ERP solutions go beyond the basic functionalities, offering advanced features, flexibility, scalability, and superior performance. These systems are designed to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and empower businesses to make data-driven decisions.

Enhanced Functionality:
One of the key characteristics that set these ERP systems apart is their extensive functionality. These solutions cover a wide spectrum of business processes, including finance, human resources, supply chain management, manufacturing, customer relationship management, and more. With a comprehensive suite of features, businesses can manage every aspect of their operations from a single platform, eliminating the need for multiple disjointed systems.

Superior Integration Capabilities:
Gone are the days when different departments within an organization operated in silos. Best in class ERP systems offer seamless integration capabilities, bringing all the different functions together. By connecting various modules and departments, businesses can foster collaboration, streamline communication, and achieve a holistic view of their operations. This integration not only saves time and effort but also allows for better decision-making through real-time data sharing.

Advanced Analytics and Reporting:
Data is the new gold, and best in class ERP systems are well-aware of that. These systems come packed with powerful reporting and analytics tools. They enable businesses to extract meaningful insights from their data, helping them identify trends, track performance metrics, and make informed decisions. With intuitive dashboards and customizable reports, companies can monitor KPIs, spot bottlenecks, and optimize their processes for maximum efficiency.

Scalability and Flexibility:
As businesses grow and evolve, their ERP needs may change. Best in class ERP solutions are designed to scale alongside businesses, accommodating their expanding requirements. These systems offer the flexibility to add or remove modules as needed, ensuring that organizations can adapt to new challenges and seize opportunities without disrupting their operations. This scalability empowers businesses to stay agile and future-proof their operations.

These are solutions offered by ERP vendors from tier one, two or three that combine core functions of a manufacturing enterprise into a single, integrated enterprise-wide software suite. There is tight integration between functions, linking manufacturing, finance, supply chain management, quality, inventory, supply chain, maintenance and other functions in a single universe.

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Key ERP Questions to Ask

Best-of-Breed and Best-in-Class ERP deserve careful and strategic consideration. These detailed questions are a good place to start. When it comes to ERP questions, should your company pursue a single integrated ERP solution or implement and interface multiple best-of-breed packages? We guide our clients to begin with a set of ERP questions as teams evaluate their own specific challenges.  Those questions include:

1. How close does the integrated ERP system come to meeting your needs?

Consider the current state vs. the desired future state—which approach has the most potential to meet requirements? If your current system is falling short of your needs in a specialized area it may be worthwhile evaluating a “Best-of-Breed” solution to bridge the gap.

2. Can you achieve your purposes without the application(s) being integrated to other software?

If a “stand alone” solution would work without affecting efficiency and flow of information—it may be a more economical approach for your company.

3. Are your application needs so specialized in one or more areas that you feel an integrated solution just won’t address them?

If you’ve exhausted integrated options— consider a “Best-of-Breed” add-on to solve the problem.

4. What skills do you have in your IT staff?

Can they manage multiple applications from different vendors, different databases?  Be sure that your existing IT organization can work with the technology and consider the added costs of training and support in your decision.

5. Is the best-of-breed application addressing a short-term problem?

How does it apply in the overall strategic direction of the business? Would integrated ERP provide a better long-term approach? Consider the long-term impact of a short-term decision—replacing your current ERP may be the better alternative in terms of total cost of ownership over the long haul.

6. If you are considering a single integrated system—how well does it handle a business flow?

Are there multiple places where data is entered or are transactions flowed through the entire system without re-entry? Don’t underestimate the value of integrated data and the impact it can have on your workforce efficiency.

7. How does the best-of-breed compare to the integrated solution, process by process?

Be sure to consider the impact of a “Best-of-Breed” in the overall business process, how does it enhance the value of a process beyond that of the integrated solution?

8. How does the long-term viability of the best-of-breed vendor compare to the integrated ERP vendor?

Research the financial viability and stability of a “Best-of-Breed” vendor—sometimes a product that fits a unique niche does not have the stability for long term support that a larger ERP vendor provides.

9. Do you have negotiating power with the integrated ERP vendor?

Be sure to review the terms and conditions of support and upgrades from a “Best-of-Breed” vendor to ensure that you are getting their best price based on current and projected growth.

10. Does the best-of-breed vendor support different delivery methods?

Consider Cloud vs. On-Premise. Which delivery method offers the most advantage to your company? Cloud can offer more flexibility in usage of the product and can reduce the need for additional IT infrastructure costs when supplementing your existing ERP.

We Can Help you Find the Right Answer

One of the most and most resource-intensive projects your firm will undertake is choosing an ERP system, which affects every aspect of your operations. Our unbiased ERP consultants and tried-and-true process make sure you make the best decision. Our ERP selection services will get you there.

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