When it comes to deciding on the right software solutions for your business, most software falls into two categories. The first is the best of breed software. This category of software provides one main piece of functionality in one platform. The second is all-in-one software. This category of software provides multiple pieces of functionality in one platform. In this guide, we’re going to help you analyze the pros and cons of each category of software in order to help you choose the best for your business.
The Best of Breed Software
First, let’s look at the pros and cons of the best of breed software, or software platforms that focus on one main piece of functionality.
As the name suggests, the best of breed software is the best because it can specialize on one thing whether it’s accounting, invoicing, shipping, managing, or another specific functionality. The company who created it lives and breathes that one task, and their goal is to make sure their software is fully updated to get that one task it handles best done.
Because companies that create best of breed software have such a strong focus on one area, they are likely to give great support for their platform along with general questions related to their function. They may even have special consultants that are trained to help your business succeed with all aspects of that one particular task.
Because best of breed software only focuses on one specific functionality, it cannot help you in other areas that are crucial to your business, even if they are related to the best of breed software’s function.
For example, you may have a best of breed software that handles accounting, another that handles invoicing, and another that handles inventory management. Unless they happen to be created by the same company, or partner companies, the three will not play well together. In other words, you might have to manually connect the data from one piece of software to the next. While each piece of software helps you save time with its respective task, that time is again lost when you have to transfer data from one to another.
The other con is the learning curve. You will have to learn several different platforms to manage crucial areas in your business.
The All-In-One Software
Now, let’s look at the pros and cons for your second option, the all-in-one software.
Because all-in-one software provides multiple solutions in one platform, you will be able to connect different pieces of functionality seamlessly. For example, if you have your accounting, invoicing, and inventory management in an all-in-one software, you won’t have to go through any back and forth to connect the data – it will all be connected for you by your software.
Another pro is that you will only have to learn one platform to handle multiple functions for your business. And if you need support for any of those functions, you will have one point of contact to turn to. Your internal technical support team will also love the fact that they only have to deal with one software to maintain and update when needed versus multiple platforms.
While it’s not always true of all-in-one software, some falls under the jack-of-all-trades, master of none category. The exception to this is all-in-one software that is very niche-focused, such as inventory software that includes invoicing and accounting functions for the retail / manufacturing industry.
How to Choose
Now that you know the main pros and cons of both the best of breed and all-in-one software, it’s time to figure out which to choose for your business. Here’s a simple guide to choosing one or the other.
Choose the Best of Breed Software If…
- You must have the best of the best for specific functions in your business.
- You’re tech-savvy and don’t have trouble learning or training someone on multiple software platforms.
- You have plenty of technical support available to you to handle installation, maintenance, and updates for multiple software platforms.
- You want specialized support available to you for specific functions.
- You don’t mind spending time transferring data from one software to another to get different systems to report on the same business data.
- You don’t mind budgeting for multiple software purchases and various pricing for future updates to each.
- You need customizations that all-in-one software cannot provide for your specific business.
- There are no gaps in functionality between all of the software platforms you will need.
Choose the All-In-One Software If…
- You don’t have time to learn or train someone on multiple software platforms to manage different functions within your business.
- You prefer the simplicity of one platform to handle several important business functions.
- You have limited technical support available to you to handle issues that the software company will not, such as installation, maintenance, and updates.
- You like having one place to call when you need help.
- You don’t have time for the redundancy of transferring data between multiple software platforms.
- You only want to budget one cost for the initial purchase and updates of the software that handles your main business functions.
- You don’t need too many customizations to fit your business needs.
- The all-in-one software fills in gaps in functionality that the best of breed software platforms cannot.
Most solo-entrepreneurs and small businesses will find that all-in-one software meets their needs with the least amount of fuss. Larger businesses with the resources to devote to multiple platforms may find that the best of breed software meets specific needs within their business better. Be sure to research all of your options so you can choose a software solution that efficiently and effectively meets your business needs.