What is best-of-breed?

In software terminology, best-of-breed refers to the best available software solution or system in its category or niche.

In the best-of-breed approach, companies prioritize the use of specialized, top-performing software applications that excel in their respective areas of expertise. These solutions are chosen based on their ability to meet specific requirements or deliver superior performance in a particular application or function.

This differs from a best-of-suite approach, where a collection of applications are bundled into an integrated all-in-one package by a single vendor.

What is the purpose of a best-of-breed approach?

By using best-of-breed solutions, enterprises can leverage the expertise and capabilities of multiple specialized vendors or providers, rather than relying on a single comprehensive solution that may have limitations in certain areas. This approach allows companies to tailor their technology stack to their individual needs and select the best tools for each aspect of their business operations.

Take, for example, a company that uses an all-in-one enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to handle all of its customer relationship management (CRM), product information management (PIM) and payroll needs, to name a few. While ERP systems are a convenient all-in-one solution, they are typically not optimized for a specific business need and may not have the capability to handle complex tasks.

To illustrate, the company may encounter the following problems:

  • The CRM module can handle basic customer data storage and contact management, but lacks workflow customization and segmentation capabilities needed to optimize complex sales and support processes.

  • The PIM module provides product data management capabilities like basic product classification, attribute management, and metadata tagging, but lacks robust content enrichment tools to build detailed product catalogs with customized specs, images, videos, and documentation.

  • The payroll module handles basic payroll calculations and payments, but cannot support the specialized commission structures, bonuses, and equity compensation needed for the sophisticated sales compensation plans.