Will the Force(.com) be the Glue that Binds BoB to PoE?

As per a recent post, Best-of-Breed ( BoB )┬ásolutions alone are not enough, you need an end-to-end enterprise platform operations engine ( PoE ) that consolidates all of your spend and provides you with one version of the truth. Otherwise, you’re working with blinders on and a seemingly good decision, like going with a lower cost provider, can cost you more in the long run, because their shipping costs and their defect rates are higher.

And as per another recent post, the time of niche is (almost) here, and best-of-breed solutions will be needed for certain verticals, departments, and / or categories. Generic platforms with generic processes will not be complete enough, or useable enough, for the sophisticated buyer of specialized products or services — who expects an ease of use and power that goes beyond Amazon.com and today’s social networks. As a result, the base systems will be bypassed and critical spend will escape management.

Both BoB and PoE solutions are required, but unless they are integrated, a user will not be able to realize the full benefits of either platform. But as there is still no common supply chain language, and no magic middleware that can connect any ERP or transaction engine to any BoB front-end, how can you insure that your systems play nice?

In a recent post I noted that, these days, it seems that everyone wants a piece of the Force. I’m still not entirely sure why, since it was built to serve CRM (and not SRM), the ecosystem is new, and it’s still not a proven enterprise platform for the supply chain, but vendor after vendor is taking the leap, so we have to acknowledge that, until something more exciting comes along, it’s where the supply chain market is going.

Given that the Force is cloud-based, that, for better or worse, it’s becoming the new ERP of (small and) mid-sized business in particular, and that it won’t be long before every vendor and its mascot has a Force.com app, it would appear that it won’t be long before you can use the platform as your data store and different vendor apps as your BoB applications. Now, it’s probably going to take a while for most vendors (who haven’t been training with the Force since day one) to port the bulk of their functionality, but with development timeframes compressing by the year, probably not as long as one may think. Which begs the question, is the Force going to be the glue that binds BoB to PoE and bring us the next level of supply chain efficiency?

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