The Postmodern ERP Debate

There have been many ongoing and wide-reaching discussions on the rise of postmodern ERP in recent years. Gartner defines postmodern ERP as: “A technology strategy that automates and links administrative and operational business capabilities (such as finance, HR, purchasing, manufacturing and distribution) with appropriate levels of integration that balance the benefits of vendor-delivered integration against business flexibility and agility.”

I think both parties, those pro-suite and others who prefer a best-in-class approach, agree that postmodern ERP technology is the way of the future. However, suite vendors argue that it’s critical for companies to have a full view into its business operations and that this is only true if all data is stored in a single reporting tool or dashboard. Fundamentally though, this is not true.

A best-in-class cloud ERP solution easily allows organizations a full 360 view into their most critical information. With today’s low-cost integration and reporting tools readily available and easily implemented, compiling an in-depth view of even the most complex organization poses little challenge.

So what’s the difference?

The difficulty in using suites often start when individual applications are not enabled with sufficient features, not on par with competing best-in-class applications, not fully integrated with other applications in the suite, and do not offer consolidated reports. With a best-in-class solution you’re able to pick and choose exactly what you need and leave out what you don’t.

One of the primary justifications for adopting a software suite in the past was the argument that it reduced the amount of integration necessary to tie together multiple applications. The unfortunate reality has been that suites tend to create greater implementation complexity while providing only modest functional capabilities across their various application areas. As a result, CFOs face greater risks fully implementing these suites while having to accept fewer features to meet their financial management needs.

Also, as the products age, a best-in-class vendor will have continued to focus their energy in one specific functional area while a suite vendor will have continued to invest in many functional areas. Further, if you restrict yourself to a software suite, you restrict yourself to the results of a single vendor’s R&D investment. For example, at Intacct, R&D is solely focused on finance. In contrast, suite vendors like NetSuite must spread its R&D efforts across a wide range of products. As a result, Intacct customers receive new finance and accounting capabilities four times a year, twice as frequently as NetSuite customers.

Lastly, a major appeal with a best-in-class approach is functionality and flexibility. Best-in-class vendors typically provide significantly greater functionality, as well as easier deployments. These advantages can stem from a singular focus on a smaller set of features and the reliance of these vendors on customer success stories. As a result, best-in-class vendors often have a deeper understanding of their customer’s needs and pain points, and a dedication to guaranteeing a positive customer experience.

The choice between best-of-breed software solutions and software suites has been hotly debated for decades. At Intacct, our choice is clear—a best-of-breed approach allows you to choose the best solution for each part of your organization at each stage in your growth. As your business grows and changes over time, this is the only approach that gives you the freedom to select the right solution to meet your evolving needs.

Gone are the days where CFO’s and business owners are able to meet all of their needs with one single software publisher. Intacct’s best-in-class philosophy allows for easy integrations, freedom of choice, and increased financial efficiency.

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