Choosing the Right Tech Stack: Single Vendor Ecosystem or Best-of-Breed?

Exploring the risks and benefits in choosing between a single tech vendor ecosystem and best of breed tooling.

February 29, 2024

This is part of an occasional blog series authored by Digibee Business Development leader Jean Minka, sharing his perspectives on the changing enterprise technology landscape – reflected from his discussions with Digibee customers, prospects and partners.

As a business and technology leader, some of the most critical technology decisions you face center on whether to broadly adopt an integrated suite from a single vendor or assemble a “best-of-breed” stack of specialized tools. The associated set of decisions is the underpinning of your technology strategy, and the decisions you make will profoundly impact the flexibility, innovation and costs of your tech stack as you grow, scale and evolve your organization.

Weighing the pros and cons of single vendor ecosystems

For a very long time, the lure of simplicity and centralized control led organizations to consolidated platforms like SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, to name a few. More recently, the major cloud providers – Google, Microsoft Azure and AWS – have offered the same concentration and control for those choosing a single, central ecosystem. 

While this approach can streamline operations with economy of skills and ease admin burdens initially, organizations now realize the convenience comes at a subtle but significant long-term cost. Relying on one ecosystem for everything can stifle an organization’s innovative edge, based on the limitations of the tools the single vendor offers. But changing technology deployments isn’t easy, so careful consideration is required.

Let’s face it: No company, no matter how vast its resources, can claim to lead the pack in every product category. Inevitably, the focus skews towards flagship offerings, leaving the ancillary solutions as budgetary afterthoughts. For vendors, this isn’t necessarily a flaw but simply a business reality. The marquee products get the lion’s share of R&D to protect core revenue streams while the peripherals languish. Sometimes offering gaps are filled with acquisitions, with varying degrees of success.

Consider SAP, the titan of ERP systems and a marvel of engineering might. Can we realistically expect SAP to pour that same passion and energy into developing every ancillary solution a customer could need? It’s a rhetorical question but one that underscores an emerging mindset. To remain competitive, businesses must embrace specialized tools rather than expecting a single vendor to excel at everything. 

Considering best-of-breed to win the long game

The alternative best-of-breed approach combines targeted solutions from multiple vendors, each purpose-built to excel at a specific capability. What you lose in out-of-the-box deployment, you gain in customization and innovation leverage. Your technology stack mirrors the dynamism of your business.

While evaluating multiple solutions increases upfront integration complexity, today’s modern iPaaS platforms help securely connect disparate applications with ease. And for many leaders, the long-term business agility enabled by best-of-breed makes the short term planning worth it.  

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but analyzing along these dimensions can guide decisions:

  • Are roadmaps ambitious and relevant?
  • Does the vendor lead or follow trends?
  • How transparent is the licensing and support model?
  • Are all ancillary costs clear? 
  • What partnership ecosystem and APIs are offered?
  • How easily could you swap this product out later?
  • If needs change, how easy to scale or descale usage?
  • How portable is your data?
  • Does the vendor offer 24/7 enterprise-grade assistance?
  • How quickly do they resolve issues and roadblocks?

The optimal balance depends on your strategic priorities. You may choose best-of-breed for cutting edge systems that differentiate your business, while opting for an integrated platform for back-office functions. But given the quickening pace of technology change, specialized tools often provide the agility and innovation leverage needed to compete going forward. The future favors adaptability, so position your organization to select the best solution for each business need.

Let’s talk about your approach

As a modern, serverless iPaaS, we at Digibee talk to organizations with a wide array of approaches. Many of our customers are using integration as a means for legacy migration – as they lessen reliance on a single platform or vendor. On the other end of the spectrum, we work with organizations focused on best of breed tooling, much farther along on the digital transformation journey

I’d love to talk and hear about your strategy, and the successes and roadblocks you’re facing. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Digibee’s born in the cloud iPaaS for a simpler, faster, and modern approach to integration, please contact us for a demonstration.

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