Why Best-of-Suite Solutions Will Win the Edge Over Best-of-Breed

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Best-of-breed solutions have staked their claim in the technology market and for good reason, as the name implies. After all, why wouldn’t buyers gravitate to the top products and services available? With the promise of everything from creating a better customer service experience to streamlining operational efficiency, it seems like an obvious decision when evaluating IT solutions. However, as we’ve evolved into an increasingly digital and connected world, does the ‘best’ designation still hold its weight?

In some cases, absolutely. But for many organizations in the throes of digital transformation, challenges have arised to make them rethink their technology investments. This isn’t about sacrificing performance, but rather, prioritizing how IT systems work together versus being the superior option for a singular use case. Take a new billing system, for instance. It can have all the bells and whistles, but if it doesn’t integrate seamlessly with your existing systems or ones you plan to implement, does the benefit really outweigh the investment?

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this, as companies had to quickly rethink where and how people get work done. While the adjustment hasn’t been easy for many businesses, it’s forced them to address some big software issues that have been bubbling up for years. As workforce enablement finally inches its way into a leading business priority, it may be inching out best-of-breed solutions as more and more organizations start to opt for ‘best-of-suite’ software. With a focus on systems delivery, best-of-suite solutions enable all IT systems to work together to improve workflow, and as a result, provide better customer service and business outcomes.

Enterprise organizations have started to realize that the benefit of multiple best-of-breed solutions is no longer outweighing the seamless experience that companies want for their employees. They quite simply require too much context-switching for employees. In fact, a lot of companies have already made big investments toward being best-of-suite vendors, and it just so happens, they include some well-known best-of-breed solutions, too.

Although approaching the market from two different angles, Salesforce and ServiceNow are two companies that have been very successfully operating as best-of-suite solutions. Salesforce connects marketing, sales, commerce, service and IT teams from anywhere to offer the best customer experience. ServiceNow connects disparate technologies to reduce the complexity of employees’ jobs through a modern digital workflow. Both ServiceNow and Salesforce serve as the connective tissue for multiple business functions—not one just one that they do very well.

It’s not just Salesforce and ServiceNow, either; there’s a fundamental shift happening in the enterprise software market and we’re seeing more of it through recent acquisitions. Just last month, identity platform Okta announced the $6.5 million acquisition of Auth0, another smaller player in the identity space. Earlier this month, SailPoint announced its intent to acquire Maestro ERP to help with identity/privileged access controls. Ultimately, it’s likely that Okta and Sailpoint will eventually be acquired by one of the primary cloud providers—Google, Microsoft, Amazon, ServiceNow, Salesforce, etc.—who don’t already have a robust identity offering. This is strong evidence that the consolidation of services to create a less siloed IT environment is finally upon us.

Although it’s taken time—and a global pandemic—to accelerate the prioritization of workforce enablement, it’s not a new concept. All organizations want to create improved working environments, but before the work from anywhere culture took hold, other projects seen as mission-critical have taken precedence. Not to mention the tactical part of introducing new and better processes—financial, talent, training and education on new systems, integration with existing systems, etc.—is a massive undertaking. That said, many best-of-breed solutions simply can’t compete with an entire suite of solutions working together seamlessly.

Increased productivity and ability to simplify tasks are an attractive byproduct of this, but if that’s not enough to convince you of the value of workforce enablement, there are other important factors, too. First, organizations want to eliminate the internal silos of multiple, different applications that employees have to use and be trained on. Second, they want to significantly consolidate their data silos in order to unlock the potential of important insights. Third, they also want to break down the barriers between IT and the business, which means empowering their workforce by providing a common set of tools that all employees can use together to solve problems.

Consider extending the power of working with a common spreadsheet or word processing package to digital workflows and designs or having low- or no-code capabilities that enable all employees to do their jobs better and faster. This fosters a culture of collaboration and empowerment, giving your team the best chance of making an impact, which can improve morale and the bottom-line.

The need to rethink how we protect our businesses is another factor that best-of-suite solutions address. Security concerns have only been exacerbated by the remote and hybrid work environments of the past year. Unencumbered by IT staff and left to their own devices, employees will do what they need to get work done—even if that means resorting to bad habits. Best-of-suite solutions are built upon friendly UX and security to prevail in a way that numerous different best-of-breed solutions simply cannot. When systems are working as one vs. many, it’s easier to find and address any vulnerabilities that may put your business at risk.

Best-of-breed solutions have their place, but the emerging stars in the software market will be the ones that prioritize the interconnected nature of today’s digital workflow. Although the last year has not been easy, we’ve learned to work effectively even while apart, and we did it by arming people with the tools and technologies they needed to succeed. Workforce enablement is having a defining moment, and it’s a game best-of-suite solutions are poised to win.

John Milburn
John Milburn is Clear Skye’s CEO. On the pursuit to drive the company's vision into reality, John is dedicated to closing the value gap that has existed in the Identity Governance and Administration market for the last 20 years. With nearly three decades of enterprise software experience, John brings to the table a plethora of knowledge with a focus on security and identity management. Before joining Clear Skye, John held executive roles at renowned organizations, such as Quest Software, Dell, and most recently One Identity.

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