The suite vs. best in class battle has been raging for the past half-century, with proponents on both sides touting the virtues of their side and the pitfalls of the other. While the technology has advanced, the dilemma has stayed relatively similar:

  • Choose all of our applications from one vendor knowing that not everyone will be completely satisfied by the decision and that any external software will be hard or downright impossible to integrate, or
  • Allow each department to choose what’s best for their unique needs, even if it means working with multiple vendors?

However, in 2017, the debate has shifted, thanks to enterprise-ready cloud computing, the API economy, a network of consultants who can customize and connect products in ways never before imagined, and products designed to fit into your workflows, not vice versa. We look to share new information in the best in class vs. suite debate and offer tips on making an informed decision.

A Bit of History

In the 70s, the idea was revolutionary: Bring as many applications as possible into one management source. The battle raged on through the years, trending toward best-of-breed in the 90s and back to suites in the early-mid 2000s.

While there have been many reasons, defined by former Gartner Analyst Jim Shepherd as “some mysterious combination of the economy, management philosophy, technology trends and vendor marketing campaigns,” all of the prior shifts to suites had one missing factor that exists today: Cloud Computing, namely its readiness for organizations of all sizes.

How the Cloud Made Best in Class a Reality for Organizations of All Sizes

Following the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, organizations were firmly set on suites. Many companies had been burned, and purchasing departments were more risk averse—opting to choose one single vendor (“no one’s been fired for buying IBM”) over a multitude of feature-rich applications, much to the chagrin of end users who had to “compromise” in the name of process integration.

Yet both major “suite moments (1970s and early 2000s)” had one thing in common: They both happened before cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications were as stable, secure, and sophisticated as they are today.

Best in Class Means Better Integration and More Innovation

Thanks to the cloud, organizations are able to recognize a plethora of benefits, from lower costs to anytime, anywhere access. However, these advantages are amplified when companies decide to move away from rigid, monolithic suites to agile and flexible best in class applications.

Companies that choose best in class applications recognize all of the standard benefits of the cloud, but get even more:

More Organizations Foregoing Monolithic ERP for Nimble Applications

Organizations are making the most of their software decisions by allowing each department to choose what’s right, knowing that another company has already found success integrating two, three, ten, or more applications to work together within an ecosystem. When implemented and integrated properly, the end product delivers nimbleness and real-time insight instead of isolated processes accessed through clunky and antiquated interfaces.

Making Connections

To us, the choice is clear, and this is why our team at Wipfli/Brittenford has designed a multitude of connectors designed to make your everyday operations in a best in class ecosystem even easier. Whether that’s our solution for Private/Independent Schools that allows business managers to simplify the student management process, our award-winning Concur Connectors (ExpenseConnect/InvoiceConnect) which simplify the expense management and invoice payment process, or our check fraud prevention system (PositivePay), we have worked with Intacct to design products focused on the end user. Contact us for more information.