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A Quick Guide To ERP vs Best of Breed

Making a decision between implementing an ERP system or Best of Breed system is never an easy decision to make. There are several factors to consider when trying to decide what is best for your company.

First off, in case you don’t know, Best of Breed software is simply the best product in its class.  Often comprised of the best modules from various vendors, Best of Breed incorporate many different functions and features.

The Benefits of a Best of Breed solution:

  • More cost effective when compared to integrated ERP system
  • More competitive when compared to single vendor implementations
  • Increased flexibility and choice to a company
  • The disadvantages of a Best of Breed solution are:
  • More time is required to implement.
  • Potential privacy and security concerns with data sharing
  • Inconsistent data collation and reporting between modules
  • Secondary costs for integration and customisation

These two options are often compared to one another, but in reality, they are two different systems. There are key functions that are unique to each and require often irreconcilable architecture decisions.

Hardware and Software

Autonomous ERP systems are vendor specific, and generally do not incorporate standard hardware or software.  These systems are often hard to maintain and must be managed by employees who have the vendor specific training.  They are expensive and often do not have equal functionality compared to other ERP system options that are cost-effective.

ERP systems are standardised for hardware and software. They offer easy and inexpensive upgrades to newer versions as well as competitive prices for hardware and software. Security and updates are handled by the software vendor, not the end user. Updates are seamlessly installed by simply clicking a button. Hardware and software upgrades are then downloaded to all systems or automatically transferred.

Hardware guidelines are also set at all the various levels for an ERP system compared to a best of breed solution. Each vendor has different hardware requirements that cannot be reconciled with other vendors’ products. Data compatibility is also an issue; ERP systems are very strictly enforced and are not easily cheesed, giving you a lot more security and confidence.

Training and Support

Another major difference is training and support. Although many Best of Breed solutions have their own training centres, these will only provide training up to a certain point, and after that, you’ll be on you’re own with training employees.  This is a disadvantage as a company, as it requires employees to be trained and re-trained to use different software and systems that are not standardised or proven over time.

ERP systems, on the other hand, have training centres that are all the systems have combined. All employees will be trained to use the system, reducing training costs for the company over time. Al though training is not the only consideration, it is a major factor when deciding which is best.

Companies often find themselves with the option of choosing between an ERP system and Best of Breed solution. In most cases companies choose to implement an ERP system but are left unsatisfied with the choice, be it that they’re dissatisfied with the system itself or the process of purchasing it.

There are many variable, but what they all boil down to is that you need to look at the bigger picture and look at all the factors. You’ve got to identify the problems that will occur and find out about potential fixes. Implementation is key. If you let an ERP system implementation go wrong, you will suffer dearly for it. Solutions have to be implemented properly in order to get the most out of them.

A lot of companies say that they will be implementing an ERP system or a Best of Breed solution, but they don’t always get around to it. The companies that do get around to it and actually implement both options are the ones who have better solutions in the long run.

ERP systems and Best of Breed solutions are not one way or the other, but they both provide solutions to specific problems. Best of Breed may be better for one company, and ERP systems may be better for another. It all depends on the problem at hand, and if it is significant enough, you might want to look into getting an ERP system or a Best of Breed solution to get your company on the right track.

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