Best of Breed vs. Single Vendor Suite

So you’ve taken the plunge and begun to investigate technology to streamline your current processes and now you’ve got two basic options: Best of Breed or Single Vendor Suite?  Are you confused yet?

If so, let’s go ahead and define our terms.

Best of Breed refers to software that focuses on one key process.  For example, recruitment software or onboarding software.  A Single Vendor Suite attempts to incorporate a number of key processes in a single platform.  An example might be an HRIS solution that offers modules for recruitment, performance management, training and payroll.

Traditionally, the Single Vendor HR suite was the choice of employers with onsite IT infrastructure that required extensive installation, configuration and rollout.  By choosing a single-vendor suite, the painstaking task of managing multiple implementation projects (not to mention the often treacherous task of integrating multiple systems) could be avoided.

This line of thinking made sense 10 years ago when system configuration and integration was crucial to realising the benefits of new technology.   A botched rollout could result in your company losing thousands, if not millions, of dollars

With the phenomenal uptake of cloud based technology, the risk of rolling out a best of breed platform has significantly reduced.  Implementation projects last 2 weeks, not 2 years and the integration problem has been solved by the simple solution of an open API.  Best of breed recruitment software still isn’t for all businesses though.

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself when evaluating technology purchases for your business:

  1. Does recruitment seem like an afterthought? Recruitment is more closely aligned to the marketing and sales functions of your business than to traditional HR practices.  If the single-vendor suite attempts to make recruitment workflow work within a payroll or learning & development workflow, the most likely outcome is it will work well for payroll and be cumbersome and clunky for recruitment.  If the recruitment module in an HR suite seems like an afterthought, it probably is.
  2. Does it integrate with your current, proven systems?  Integration with existing systems including HRIS or Payroll might seem like a make or break now, but should it be?  That’s hard to say without a thorough understanding of your needs in a solution.  If integration is important, cloud based solutions solve this problem through open APIs.  An open API enables data transfer between separate systems and has become increasingly common in the current generation of web based technology.  If you’re chosen solution has an Open API, the most likely answer is questions about integrations is: Yes, it will integrate.
  3. Is it scalable? As a best of breed specialist, I’m often asked about the scalability of the solution.  This should be a crucial element of your decision making process, especially when considering recruitment software.  What’s the point of procuring software designed to facilitate growth if it’s not able to grow with your business?

Those are the three questions I would recommend any person ask during the initial stages of investigation for recruitment or HR software.  The ‘advantages’ of the Single Vendor suite have eroded to the point of being non-existent so now it comes down to what will actually work better for your team and your business?

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