Opening Your Mind Up to Best-of-Breed Solutions
Industries are constantly changing, and so are the available solutions. We all seek to find greater efficiencies and meet new demands by using technology solutions to get us there. We look to outsource or internally build solutions in hope to meet our goals in the best way possible. As we do, the great debate lives on – to outsource or not to outsource.
By developing internally crafted solutions the assumption is that the end product will better support unique requirements and quick changes while ensuring easier management of an internal system. A best-of-breed (BOB) system allows you to enjoy the specialization and expertise of a certain niche area while also providing seamless interoperability among systems.
And of course, both can come with their challenges:
Handling and managing multiple integrations and systems
Managing the upgrade/updates of each application
Data sharing across systems
Maintaining high level of expertise and innovation among all solution areas
Lack of features and functionality
Having access to the best subject matter experts always
Tied to one solution provider
It’s clear that for best-of-breed, there may be complexities in managing multiple systems. That’s where an in-house/all-in-one solution seems attractive; however, there is risk for internal development as the level of in-house expertise to meet all requirements can be difficult to secure compared to the expertise you get with outsourced solutions. Think of your own job and how difficult it can be to not only execute the demands of your job but to also improve your skillsets, stay up to date with innovations and industry changes and putting forth plans to incorporate the right changes for your organization. With outsourcing, this is the job of that vendor.
With a BOB approach, it grants you access to an external team of experts whose responsibility is to provide intelligent solutions that continuously stay abreast of industry trends and changes. And with the right sequence of proven technology, your speed to market can increase substantially.
The better news? With more robust and flexible APIs today and greater interoperability overall, things are looking up for the best-of-breed stack. And selecting the right vendors can reduce the potential challenges previously discussed with BOB.
Proper Vendor Selection Can Improve Success Rates
Integrated platforms allow each toolset to seamlessly operate within current business needs to improve processes, provide operational efficiencies and an extra layer of visibility. To ensure this is seamless, it’s important to select the right vendors who are flexible and willing to meet your needs. Here are some checklist items to follow:
- Ensure there is accountability and traceability provided in designed solutions. This will help pinpoint areas of improvement while also providing transparency in ownership which is key to efficiency and productivity.
- Select a highly configurable and flexible platform. As your customer demands change, so will your solutions. You need a platform that can seamlessly operate within current business processes and be flexible for future changes.
- Take in change at the right pace for your organization. Consider finding a solution that integrates with current workflows and legacy systems allowing you to leverage existing tools while making use of automation and visibility between all systems. This prevents you from cancelling existing contracts and from moving to new tools abruptly.
- Although an out-of-the-box vendor solution can immediately provide several efficiencies for clients, the vendor should understand the importance of defining the necessary and unique configuration needed to guarantee a fit for your organization and culture. Through a consultation process, a custom configuration and training plan should be developed.
- Successful implementation comes with wide-spread adoption. Solutions that are easy-to-use, intuitive and simplify daily tasks help to accelerate the adoption and shortens the training window. Vendors should have a strong on-boarding and account management program to ensure your team fully utilizes the technology.
- Take part in productive communication. With transparent conversations, vendors must provide an optimal service full of resources and ensure new feature requests are met.
- Get a good understanding of how frequent new features are launched and how the vendor stays current with industry standards, requirements and trends. Strong project management and willingness to meet your needs goes a long way.
Your goal is to create one integrated process that generates efficiencies. But before you choose you need to truly understand what your company’s requirements are and understand your budget when it comes to total cost of ownership.
David Found is Director of Software Architecture at Indellient and leads new product development initiatives within the company. His broad vision for a solution allows complex problems to be solved in an efficient and intuitive manner, specializing in modern and robust web applications. David earned his bachelor degree in computer science from the University of Guelph. To learn more about Indellient and its flagship product, Blue Relay, visit www.indellient.com and www.bluerelay.com or on Twitter @BlueRelay and @Indellient.