Best-of-class versus ERP. The winner is?

For quite a while now, two types of system landscapes coexist. Landscapes with one large ERP solution and landscapes with a collection of independent focused applications. The advantage of ERP: the system parts are integrated.

Then there’s the so-called “best-of-class” applications. They actually require effort to integrate them. However, they are called best-of-class for a very good reason: they really are best-of-class. Whereas ERP consists of modules that are average performers.

In some companies, it’s a matter of taste which of the two types is preferred. There are companies where ERP covers their needs. For example, governmental departments, which are sufficiently served by Finance and HR applications.

Other businesses need key systems that cannot be found in ERP. Or only partly serve their needs. Think of the logistics sector, with its dedicated freight management systems. Or the media industry with its media production and administration systems. Then, a best-of-class landscape is always the better choice.

Thus, best-of-class landscapes often originate from a (non-ERP) core business system, being the very reason for the existence of the company. Additional functions, like finance and HR, are still necessary, but in a service role. With these more loosely coupled systems, the glue between them needs explicit attention, taking the form of data bridges and rules engines. These tools are sometimes referred to as ETL (extract, transform, load).

To be clear, integration needs special attention, but it’s a head start when you’re gradually going over to the cloud. And generally speaking, having a landscape with separate applications, makes it possible to replace each of them at short notice when more innovative new applications are available. The result is increased agility.

In the past, integrations took shape on a database or manual level. Currently, the web service method avoids a lot of unnecessary hassle. Agreeing protocols at the highest technical level is sufficient for systems to communicate. In fact, web services are the solution for allowing cloud applications to talk to each other.

Best-of-class software systems are always focused on integration and the latest technology. Therefore, they fit perfectly in a strategy geared towards the cloud. Integration tools enable cloud applications to communicate and provide a solution for hybrid application landscapes.

This is how you can perfectly define your path for replacing outdated applications.

Cloud versus on-premise, that’s a whole other kettle of fish! More on that, next time…


Disclosure: ICORP is a specialist in best-of-class applications, rules engines and data bridges. All powered by algorithms.