Enterprise resource planning or best of breed, what is best for IT?

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The creative contention over enterprise resource planning (ERP) vs. best of breed (BoB) has become age-old; however, key considerations weighting the equation have changed with the rise of the cloud, better integration tools, and more focus on the impact network solutions have on business transformation and end user satisfaction. The pendulum is swinging in favor of BoB as these considerations continue to eliminate the preconceived advantages of getting all of your planning tools from your ERP vendor.

The Costco conundrum

I think it is a natural human phenomenon to assume the path of least resistance is to keep your eggs in one basket. I know that was in mind when my family recently signed up for a Costco membership; where we now shop for food, household supplies, clothing, gas – and we even utilize the Costco credit card for outside expenses. One stop shop – easy, right? But what if there was another merchant out there who sold a special premium grade fuel designed specifically for my car and the longevity of its performance? Or, if I’m in the market for a guitar, and I know that Costco sells guitars it would make sense to take advantage of our membership – unless we want something of higher quality and better playability, should we instead make the investment at a real guitar store? Sure, Costco has a bit of everything, but if I am looking for a high-value niche product, I will absolutely deviate at the expense of losing the perception of convenience that came with using one retailer for all of my family’s needs.

The best of breed imperative

Enterprise IT leaders have an important choice to make when it comes to selecting the software solutions and offer capabilities that best fit their needs – whether it be an end-to-end system from one vendor or individual providers. In the end they want less strain with implementations, maintenance, customizations and upgrades – and an environment of interoperability and global visibility. When this all could be achieved with a BoB provider integrating into an ERP environment, this is when IT professionals start more heavily weigh opportunity over cost. It is important to consider if the capabilities from a monolithic vendor providing a fully integrated solution are adequate enough in the supply chain space to create a competitive advantage for their customers. “Today, SAP and Oracle have market share dominance; however, the data is clear. Neither technology vendor is an industry leader in delivering a solution that fits the needs of the supply chain planner,” says Lora Cecere of Supply Chain Shaman. It is the onus of any enterprise to choose the best offering in each category of software, for IT stakeholders to recognize the difference between ERP and a BoB solution, and to leverage the best types of solutions to create an integrated and harmonious IT system. Companies are achieving higher levels of user satisfaction when they choose to use a BoB provider to integrate into their ERP environments – Teradyne is a great example of this when they determined the single-platform approach would not be able to meet its needs. As highlighted in this case study, “Teradyne found that Kinaxis® RapidResponse® had the unique architecture to integrate not only with their Oracle ERP system but also with the ERP systems of their contract manufacturers while enhancing their responsiveness.” And the benefits are impacting the IT managers utilizing the platform to view data across their extended supply chain and meet changing requirements. An additional benefit of using a best-of-breed provider is in the security companies see within their business. If there is a single breach, it is less likely that this will disrupt their entire business network. And with everything in the cloud, companies are able to manage through attacks – as Kinaxis saw in 2017 at Merck when 90,000 computers were affected. As soon as they were able to get their systems back online they could immediately see their past and current plans and start to respond immediately to the disruption.

Can a single vendor deliver on your business objectives?

A recent interview between Bill Dubois, Industry Marketing at Kinaxis, and Lora Cecere, Founder of Supply Chain Insights, further expounds on the benefits of best-of-breed for the IT community, dissolving obstacles around integration and how to enable a truly customer-centric supply chain. To learn more about whether a single vendor can deliver on your business objectives, watch the short video below.

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