In a recent article, we asked in the battle of Suite vs. BoB (Best-of-Breed), which do you choose, and ended up with the answer of neither, but potentially both, because, as indicated in our article we asked in our post on Where’s the Procurement Management Platform, you need a true platform (that enables the creation of a true source-to-pay plus ecosystem for the various workflows and processes that need to be managed).
As a result, we indicated you could start where you wanted, provided:
- you could conceivably manage it (if you don’t have any reasonably modern e-Procurement applications, expecting you can dive into more than a couple, learn them, and incorporate them in your daily processes in a short-time frame is completely unrealistic, so you shouldn’t buy from a suite vendor unless you can activate modules over time as you are ready for them)
- the vendor offers, and publicly publishes, a complete Open API that, at a minimum, can be used to import and export all data the platform supports and should support the execution of core functions (so that you can script in a related module a date/time-based import/refresh process, re-execution of a core function/calculation, and retrieval of updated results)
- the vendor offers the necessary quick-start services (you need to be able to get going quickly — if it requires a 3 to 6 month onboarding process, you’re dead in the water before you begin from both a first year ROI and adoption perspective)
But where do you end up? It depends. On what:
- the module (Spend Analysis, Sourcing, Contract Management, Supplier Management, e-Procurement, e-Invoicing/AP, etc.)
- the organization’s biggest need for workflow/process management
- the organization’s biggest savings/cost avoidance/value creation opportunities
And for some modules, like e-Procurement, standard sourcing (no optimization/automation), AP (accounts payable), it’s quite hard to make the case for one over the other for an average organization (as it’s not how many features, functions, bells, and whistles, but which of those will actually add value to the organization acquiring the solution).
But for others, it’s crystal clear. And the clearest case is Supplier Management. Why? As per our recent article in our Source-to-Pay+ Series, Supplier Management is a CORNED QUIP Mash, and there’s no way that a suite, which is typically only average across-the-board, is going to be deep enough for the key functionalities needed by an organization (and the majority only address SIM reasonably well, with limited SRM-related capabilities). In fact, you’re not even going to find a single BoB provider that provides leading functionality in more than a few areas of what supplier management can encompass (especially if an organization needs quality, enablement/innovation, orchestration, or other specific direct or service support requirements, etc.). (So do you think you’re finding a suite that does everything? Not a chance!)
So you can start with a suite (that serves as a foundation for comprehensive SIM), or even a module from a BoB provider (that likely provides baseline Supplier Information Management as a Sourcing/CLM/Analytics add-on), but if you are serious about improving supplier performance (quality, compliance, cost of service), you will eventually progress to one (or, for extensive, different, Supplier Management needs, multiple) BoB solutions.