The Great Debate of 2023: Single Vendor vs Best of Breed Solutions

Written by Ed Bailey

January 31, 2023

The debate between single vendor solutions and best of breed approaches has been ongoing for decades in the technology industry. Engineers have always sought out options and choice, and this has led to a shift in the dominance of large vendors in each stage of technological development. As soon as IBM sold enterprises the mainframe solution, engineers started to look for other options. The mini-computer soon followed and mid-range products like the AS400 and then finally Unix, Windows and Linux became accessible options for everyone. The moral of the story is that engineers want choice or is that true? Each stage of the development in computer and software platforms has come to be dominated by large vendors, but then innovation and dominant positions weaken.

Single Vendor vs Best of Breed

Single vendor solutions allow for a more streamlined and simplified purchasing process, and can also make it easier for teams to run and maintain the technology. Single vendor solutions often come with comprehensive integration, allowing teams to get effective results with fewer tools. Best of breed approaches can offer more choice and flexibility, and can also lead to more innovation as teams are not locked into a single vendor’s offerings. However, best of breed approaches can also be more complex, as integration can be difficult to achieve between different vendors’ products and services.

So, what will the trend be for 2023? It is likely that the trend will continue to shift towards a balance between the two approaches. Engineers may seek out more comprehensive and integrated solutions, while also valuing the flexibility and choice offered by best of breed tools. Integration is a key factor in this trend, as teams strive to get the most value from their toolset without being locked into a set of mediocre tools. Architects will need to consider the options available to them if they pursue a best of breed strategy, as integration can be a difficult process. It’s important to note that integration will be the key feature that allows a team to get full value from the right toolset, without having to get locked into a set of mediocre tools that are well integrated.

How Cloud Services Impact the Decision

The trend towards cloud computing and the rise of cloud service providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform have also impacted the single vendor vs best of breed debate. Cloud computing has made it easier for teams to adopt best of breed strategies, as they can now easily integrate different vendors’ products and services through the cloud. This has led to an increase in the use of best of breed approaches in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue in 2023.

It’s also worth noting that companies are increasingly becoming more aware of the importance of cybersecurity, and are looking for solutions that can provide robust security features. In this situation, single vendor solutions can be more beneficial as they provide an end-to-end security solution, from the hardware to the software. This is something that best of breed solutions may not be able to provide, as different vendors may have different security protocols and standards.

Nick and I debated the topic recently, and the video and audio are available to watch on YouTube (embedded above) and our podcast feed. The debate between single vendor solutions and best of breed approaches is a complex one and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and teams will need to carefully consider their specific needs and requirements when making a decision. The trend for 2023 will likely involve a mix of single vendor solutions and best of breed approaches, with a focus on comprehensive integration and the ability to get effective results. It will be interesting to see how different teams approach this debate and what strategies they employ in the new year.

I’d love to hear your feedback on 2023 trends. How do you feel about best of breed vs single vendor? What do you see your team doing in the new year? Connect with me on LinkedIn or join our community Slack, and let’s talk!

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