Complete business solution vs best of breed in Cloud.

The debate of selecting best of breed or a complete business suite has been and still is a hot topic.

The main argument for best of breed is that no single software vendor can be on top of every solution. The main argument for best of breed that it’s not dependent on just one software vendor.

What speaks for a complete business solution (suite of products) is that integration between the different product and modules are all from one vendor and will have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

Business Solutions moving to the cloud.

We are now getting used to most of our private data being stored on the internet, and we consume more and more cloud services in our daily life. Now Business Solutions are also moving to the cloud. The customers expect some obvious values by moving to the cloud:

  • More predictable cost
  • Always available
  • Device agnostic
  • Mobile

Now, there are several different ways for a vendor to offer cloud solution and the business value for the different scenarios are quite different.

  • Cloud as an infrastructure
  • Public cloud
  • Private cloud
  • Hybrid

I think that the first response you will get from a person when you talk about cloud is the values and threats around public cloud. Everyone are attracted to the notion of predictable (low?) cost and always available. On the other hand, you are by nature more exposed to your data being compromised compared to a private cloud solution (or even stay on premise).

In a best of breed solution, there will be an undefined cost related to integration. Not only to set them up but also to maintain them. This will be complex because you or no other part, control the different environments that the best of breed solutions are dependent on.

Right now, the technology we have at hand doesn’t provide us with the right tools to help us solve this, without a considerable higher TCO.

To keep the TCO down it may be a good approach to select a total Business Solution from one vendor. In an on premise world, the customer, vendor or consultants must conduct the installations and integrations. When this moves to the cloud all this will be taken care of by the vendor and thereby be no concern for the customer related to TCO.

The question now is if one vendor is capable of building the best solution for every part of the Business Solution compared to picking best of breed. For companies, offering a cloud solution, there is an opportunity to conduct the best of breed selection based on other vendors and offer that is  part of the total Business Solution, without compromising the value of Public Cloud. This will give you the combined values of predictable cost AND best of breed.

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  1. A one vendor solution solves some problem. But lock you in on one vendors adoption of future technology and need for new functionality. I believe the speed to adapt is an increasing necesity for business to grow. Rememember that the average age of Fortune 500 company is 13 years. Maybe because they grow as long as they have the ability to adopt and change with speed.

    There are also tools available to integrate data from different application vendors. One is Cast Iron from IBM.

  2. A god SaaS solution consist of a complete business solution easy to acquire with no integration hassles. Butt also open for Integrations With well-defined API’s.
    IBM cast Iron can be a technology used for some integrations, but with our experience not all. In the world of integration, there is still no magic wand.

  3. One approach to solve integration issues could be to have a central storage of information where applications could check in and check out what they need. Then the application would only need to relate to one format. It would also reduce the need for duplicate information and it could make the information more secure. Such a solution would also reduce the need for applications to communicate directly with each other allowing customers to choose what suits theire specific needs. The customer could also pay for storage and own the information they produce just like they do with currency in a bank.

    Dropbox has launched a related service and others are likely to follow. Here’s an article on the topic:

    In turn central cloud storage could allow for smaller applictions to disrupt the established industry as they could tailor small apps to specific customer needs.

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Product Director Visma Software International
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