Suite Or Best Of Breed?
Should you buy a suite that covers all your business software needs? Or should you purchase best-of-breed solutions and integrate them?
It’s a question as old as enterprise software. Vendors always want to sell solutions for as many software needs as possible. But “jack of all trades, master of none” frequently holds true when these companies develop software outside their established core competencies.
How can B2B decision-makers navigate the complex waters of suite vs. best-of-breed? Here are some thoughts to get you started.
The market is trending toward suites
On the vendor side, everyone is moving toward suites again. For example:
- SAP retires hybris and launches C/4HANA, a customer experience suite, to chase down a market that prefers best-of-breed.
- Adobe buys Magento to integrate with their marketing suite.
- Salesforce buys CloudCraze and Demandware to go after ecommerce from a CRM-first perspective.
Yes, it’s definitely the battle of the suites. Grab a beer, sit back, and watch. But remember, not all suites are created equal. The key is to know your business needs inside and out, and think critically about how suite components do (or don’t) align with your needs.
Suites make sense for certain software combinations
Now yes, there are some scenarios where suites make sense. For instance, CRM and marketing make an excellent suite. Both are focused around customer communications, growing revenue by account, and so on. They’re a good match. Likewise, ecommerce and marketing make sense together. If you’re selling online, you need to integrate your digital marketing efforts as tightly as you can. This is why Adobe’s acquisition of Magento is great news, especially for B2B ecommerce.
But here’s the dark side. Not everyone needs services management software. Yet, in a be-all, end-all suite, you’re going to end up paying for it. Services are just one example, but they illustrate why the suite approach can be dangerous for vendors: not all markets have the same needs.
The dirty little secret: Suites ARE best-of-breed
Here’s a little secret the industry doesn’t talk about: in most instances, vendors aren’t actually selling a suite. They’re selling best-of-breed solutions that were built by independent companies–solutions that have been patched together into a suite after acquisitions.
For example, let’s talk about C/4HANA. It’s not a bundle of products developed to integrate with each other from the outset; rather, it’s best-of-breed solutions that SAP bought:
Technically, that’s not a suite. It’s a bundle of other companies’ products. Which is fine, but understand one thing: Because C/4HANA wasn’t built as a suite to begin with, it needs to be integrated.
For B2B manufacturers, therein lies the problem.
When you buy a suite, you still need integration (which is why you need choice)
It’s that simple when it comes to suites that are composed of best-of-breed solutions. When you buy in, you still have to get through the integration hurdle.
So who’s going to integrate your suite? How quickly, and at what cost?
This speaks to Corevist’s exact mission. We believe the market deserves choice when it comes to suite vs. best of breed. For those B2B manufacturers that can’t justify the complexity, cost, and long time-to-market of the big suites, we provide an alternative in the ecommerce department: ecommerce that reflects your SAP system in real time. That means accurate data for inventory, contract pricing, ATP, and more, right within the ecommerce store.
If the task of integrating big suites turns you off, realize that there is choice in the market. When it comes to the choice of suite vs. best of breed, the only wrong answer is an uneducated answer.
There isn’t a right answer or a wrong answer, just an educated answer.
Figuring out where you land (Having your cake and eating it too)
Where does best of breed fit in? Where does the suite fit in?
It all depends on your business. For companies that don’t want to deal with systems integrators, suites seem to offer a tantalizing path. However, as we outlined above, suites may still require integration, particularly those that are patched together with best-of-breed products that the vendor acquired.
Luckily, there is another option. What if you could have your cake and eat it too? What if you could have a best-of-breed vendor who essentially does the integrations for you?
This is where Corevist Commerce comes in. As a complete, cloud-based ecommerce solution, Corevist includes real-time integration to SAP, right out of the box. It allows you to buy only what you need (best-of-breed ecommerce) without searching for a systems integrator. Corevist is our answer to an SAP ecommerce market that desperately needs choice.
Moving forward: FREE Case study
Curious about best-of-breed ecommerce that’s fully integrated to SAP? Download this case study on LORD Corporation. You’ll learn how Corevist’s real-time SAP integration kept LORD’s business rules where they belong—in SAP.