This is a reprise of a series that first ran in 2012. It’s as relevant, and important, today as it was then.
Despite claims to the contrary, you are not stuck being a sap or hearing prophecies from an ethylene-gas inhaling delphi. You do have options. Acquisitions might have some analysts in a tizzy, but you only need to remember one thing. Don’t Panic.
It’s been years since the acquisitions of Ariba & Emptoris.
They were not the only best-of-breed game in town then, and they certainly aren’t the only best-of-breed game in town now. In fact, for many companies, SI would argue that they are not even in the best-of-breed category as the length integration cycles required to integrate them into their acquirer’s platforms slowed down development and now there are only a few module or functions left that, in SI’s opinion, are still best-of-breed. However, there are lots of other options, and these options exist on both sides of the Atlantic.
Best of Breed vendors eat, sleep, and drink supply management
Unlike do-it-all or ERP vendors, best-of-breed supply management vendors are focused entirely on a critical supply management process and, as a result, they tend to be much better at it than do-it-all or ERP vendors, especially supplier enablement, which we all know fuels the e-procurement benefits engine.
Best of Breed on an ERP backbone can offer significant advantages
- Best of Breed providers often know the strengths and weaknesses of ERP systems they are replacing better than the consulting implementation partners, who care more about if they can weasel their way into long-term strategy consulting than a successful implementation. (For example, there are a couple of vendors with over 100 customer SAP implementations, who know the system way better than a Big 5 consultant on his second implementation.)
- Best of Breed providers have enabled hundred of thousand of suppliers, maybe more, over the years … in all regions of the world … your 347 suppliers aren’t going to make them flinch (and they will be faster and cost less, because once again, they, or their carefully selected integration partners, have been there, done that … a few hundred thousand times.)
- Best of Breed provider’s customers are all former ERP e-procurement / consulting implementation customers … that’s right, most of whom have already failed using the ERP/consultant approach, spent the millions, got 7 punch-outs and 11 catalogs implemented … now they spend thousands and get … well, you already know … actual results and benefits.
- Best of Breed providers have to be better than the ERP or broad portfolio providers, because they can’t fall back on their CRM sales or app server license revenue if they don’t deliver.
- And because of all of this, Best of Breed providers have way more references than the ERP providers. Those big ERP guys based in Germany have two significant e-procurement references … one they’ve been using for 3 years, and another from a company I never heard of on this side of the Atlantic … I know of one Best of Breed provider who has 19 published case studies, and has only lost one customer in 14 years, and that was after this company was a customer for 9 years, and decided to outsource IT, and the outsourcer, IBM, brought in an ERP to replace all of the internal systems.
- Best of Breed providers’ SaaS-type offerings and supplier networks eliminate the need for your IT department or external consultants to be involved, so they implement faster and less expensively
- The most successful Best of Breed providers have service organizations or carefully selected service partners around the globe to assist with implementations and provide stability.
- Best of Breed providers fill in the gaps where ERP fall short. ERP may try, but it is not all-in-one and they are usually a year or more behind the Best-of-Breeds functionality-wise.
- Best of Breed works and they have the client stories to prove it. Follow SI’s advice and check their references.
- Best of Breed will help your SUM (Spend Under Management) soar.
Consider your options carefully. A Best of Breed solution on your ERP backbone might be the best decision you can make.