4 Reasons why best-of-breed apps beat software suites

Michael Boeke wrote this on Sep 13

Traditionally, institutional investors have had to make a choice between all-in-one software suites and best-of-breed set of applications for different functional roles, such as portfolio management reporting, risk analytics, and accounting.

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Recent innovations in cloud applications and the API economy have changed the calculus. Modern cloud platforms feature APIs that enable powerful integration and data-sharing across platforms, often right out of the box. They also make it easier to get implemented than legacy on-premise, or self-hosted, solutions.

Here is a look at some of the benefits of the best-of-breed approach to software platforms for institutional investors in 2017.

Faster implementation

If you don’t have to implement every team and type of data at once, you can get value from your software investment sooner. As you implement each application in your mix, you get incremental value along the way rather than working for many months at a time and waiting for a “big bang” payoff at the end of the project (that might never happen).

Leverage specialized expertise

Choosing the best application for each function enables you to leverage the expertise of the vendor. After all, they have a team of specialists dedicated to tackling this one area. All-in-one platforms can be a 4/10 in each area and a 10/10 on none. They are forced to spread their development effort across feature sets. In contrast, each vendor in a best-of-breed mix has product development (and other) resources dedicated to solving a particular problem. So, you get better software and more frequent updates.

The best-of-breed strategy also leverages the expertise of your staff to choose the best tools for their role. Each team or member of your organization is best suited to know what tools will help them to perform the responsibilities of their role to the best of their abilities. Also, teams are happiest when using tools they’ve selected for themselves, rather than getting stuck with whatever another team (or the boss) selected. Not only that, but they are also more likely to use the software they’ve selected, which increases your return on investment.

Greater flexibility

Another advantage of choosing multiple smaller platforms is that it’s easier to switch one service if it isn’t working for a particular function than to substitute out the tools for every team at your organization. Sometimes a software platform doesn’t live up to its billing, and sometimes your needs just change. In any event, it can be an ordeal to switch from an integrated software suite, as what’s inadequate or broken for one team may be working well for another.

Even if every functional team agrees that it’s time to switch, it can be a significant interruption to disrupt every team’s regular operations at once. That’s a disincentive to try something new, and no one wants to be locked into a vendor that isn’t a good fit. There will still be costs to switching from a point solution, but it will likely be far less than it would be for switching from an all-in-one suite.

Reduced risk

One of the reasons the internet is so resilient, reliable, and resistant to failure, is because its infrastructure is distributed. You can achieve something of the same effect by diversifying your software vendors, thus distributing your software infrastructure across geographies and businesses. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of total system outages across your tools. When the inevitable incident occurs, rendering one vendor temporarily unavailable, it’s less likely to affect your entire organization.

You can also reduce your business risk of a particular software platform not working out. A point solution will likely cost less upfront and can be replaced without disrupting every functional team (see above).

How to choose your mix

Let your teams evaluate the tools that are best for them - they’re the experts in their roles. Each team can move at their own pace since you don’t have to decide on every application all at once. In fact, it’s probably easier for your organization to digest one new platform at a time. Once you’ve gotten through initial implementation with each vendor, you can layer on additional functionality with additional software tools.

Also, you want to look for vendors with strong APIs and a proclivity for integrating with other platforms. Ask them about their integrations with software you already use, and their plans to integrate with other vendors.

Conclusion

You can get value more quickly, enjoy greater flexibility, and reduce your risk with a best-of-breed approach to software at your organization. If you interested to learn more about how Synap can work with your analysis and accounting tools, please don't hesistate to get in touch.