By Edmund Zagorin, Founder and CEO of Bid Ops
People talk about “best-of-breed” a lot when it comes to digital transformation in procurement, but I’m not sure that they know exactly what it means. In this blog post, we outline what defines “best-of-breed”, why “best-of-breed” is a distinct approach to digital transformation, and how you can decide if “best-of-breed” is the right approach for your team’s digital procurement roadmap.
“Best-of-breed” solutions refer to purpose-built apps connected in the cloud that solve one business purpose better than any other solution. In contrast, most procurement software developed over the past thirty years follows the pattern of a “bundled solution”—a jack of all trades but a master of none—and thus tends to deliver a mediocre experience. But in procurement, leaders have grown frustrated with mediocrity due to chronically low rates of user adoption. This frustration has given voice via Dr. Elouise Epstein’s whitepaper, titled “The future of procurement: say no to mediocre technology.”
Dr. Epstein’s white paper argues that the main reason procurement solutions are mediocre is due to a focus on supporting many processes instead of a single business outcome. Only by focusing on a core problem—and a defined, measurable business outcome—is it even possible to achieve excellent performance and a delightful user experience.
That’s where startups come in and why today procurement is unbundling to so-called “best-of-breed” solutions. If you are wondering if a solution is truly “best-of-breed,” here are three qualities to look for:
1. Focused on driving one well-defined and measurable business outcome
“Best-of-breed” solutions do one job better than any other solution. If a solution does everything, then it is, by definition, not “best-of-breed” (it is “end-to-end,” which is a distinct approach with its own costs and benefits).
2. Connected in the cloud with other “best-of-breed” apps
“Best-of-breed” solutions connect to each other via APIs in the cloud. This enables a connected ecosystem of apps, where upgrades are continuous and free from the provider. If the solution is on-premises (or you ever have to pay for upgrades), then by definition, it is not “best-of-breed.”
3. “Plug and play” deployment delivers value with minimal configuration
“Best-of-Breed does not require customization, process-mapping, or weeks of implementation—it is “plug and play.” Lo/no-code solutions and most RFA bots are by definition not “best-of-breed” because they have not undergone the same user-centric design engineering process (e.g., they have not evolved intuitive user flows that are optimized for a specific purpose and measurable outcome).
Digital procurement in 2020 is all about changing the traditional mental models we have used for the past decades of technology implementation. If you are in the process of a procurement transformation, consider if a “best-of-breed” approach could be right for your team. If your goals include high rates of user adoption, improvements in stakeholder and supplier NPS, informed buyer decision-making, and empowered “self-service” purchase requests, then “best-of-breed” may be the strategy most clearly aligned with your goals.
That’s why Bid Ops helps strategic sourcing teams get live in under an hour, offers an approach to piloting with no upfront costs, and consistently wins recognition for driving business outcomes with a delightful user experience. If you are looking for a best-of-breed solution for your strategic sourcing transformation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.