Best-of-Breed Solutions or an All-in-One Platform? Addressing the Age-Old Question in the Modern Era

Written by Zach DeMeyer on March 19, 2020

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Do you get more bang for your buck by leveraging an arsenal of best-of-breed solutions, or instead choosing an all-in-one platform? It’s a question asked by IT departments and executives for as long as they’ve sought to optimize their solution stack. We’ll address that age-old question and how it relates to the needs dictated by the modern era of IT.

Comparing Best-of-Breed vs. All-in-One

Here’s an old-fashioned pros and cons list, detailing the differences between both types of solutions.

Best-of-Breed

Pros

  • Optimum performance/capabilities
    Best-of-breed means just that. These top solutions offer world-class results for the organizations that employ them. In general, best-of-breed tools have clearly defined, specific niches they address, aiding organizations with the same distinct pain points.
  • Often offer dedicated/specialized support
    Since they are so unique in their solution set, companies that offer best-of-breed tools usually provide support that address the specific areas of their product. These solutions often have consultants or experts in them that have extensive experience.
  • Deeper solution set
    In order to fully cover a specific problem, a best-of-breed tool has robust capabilities to cover all facets of said problem.
  • Unique features for power users and organizations
    For advanced needs, best-of-breed solutions enable highly technical users to delve into the product and optimize output to suit their exact goals.

Cons

  • Generally expensive
    To get the best solution available, organizations need to pay accordingly. With best-of-breed tools, you often get what you pay for, but that doesn’t preclude hefty upfront costs or subscription fees. Also, in order to get full functionality, many best-of-breed products break up their offerings into several tiers of increasing capability — and costs.
  • Usually more difficult to implement
    The flip side of having a highly elite product is the fact that the product generally needs a high degree of technical aptitude to roll out company-wide. Often these types of solutions require consultants and professional services to implement. Beyond the initial implementation, because they are focused on optimizing output for their specific use cases, creators of best-of-breed tools often will require integrations with other solutions to create a full solution.
  • Disparate end user experience
    In the same vein as the point above, leveraging multiple best-of-breed tools also puts a burden on end users to get themselves up to speed to use each solution successfully. To keep their end users in the know, IT admins need to train employees for each individual best-of-breed solution, eating into time and productivity.
  • Multiple vendor relationships
    Engaging with vendors eats away at the time IT admins have to take care of other big initiatives and plans. Having to do so across many disparate vendors adds even more time to their already busy schedules.

All-in-One

Pros

  • One solution to purchase/integrate
    An all-in-one platform is designed to cover most of the needs of its specific vertical, so organizations only need to make a single purchase to address a host of pain points.
    With only one solution to worry about, the process of training employees in the new tool is streamlined, and since employees only leverage that single tool, they don’t need to jump between interfaces or learn different workflows, saving time. All-in-one solutions also help large companies or those merging with others to become accustomed to the same solution across multiple different workspaces, meaning an employee will be just as successful in your NYC office as they would be in Hong Kong.
  • Usually less expensive than a comparable compilation of best-in-breed solutions
    Although they may have a higher upfront cost than some best-of-breed solutions, all-in-one platforms offer a suite of tooling, meaning one purchase instead of several disparate ones.
  • Usually has the top functionality needs for each area
    All-in-one solutions may not be designed to solve every problem for a specific niche, they do tackle most of a company’s high-level needs across several major areas of business.
  • Quicker implementation time frames
    With only one solution to implement, IT admins can roll out an all-in-one platform in much less time than a handful of pieced together tooling.
  • Single vendor relationship
    All-in-one means one company to do business with. That means that admins can spend less time and build stronger connections with one firm.

Cons

  • May not offer full range of capabilities as best-in-breed
    Clearly, a comprehensive product suite will not reach the same extent as a solution designed to address a specific need, which may be inadequate for some organizations’ needs.
  • May contain unnecessary functionality
    A company may only have a need for a fraction of the capability of a full all-in-one platform, meaning they would have to pay full price to only use part of the product.
  • Usually not for power users or organizations
    All-in-one platforms are designed to be inclusive for all users, which may preclude the ability to delve in from a more technical standpoint to achieve niche workflows to address needs.

What Your Organization Should Choose

So which one is best? Well, the short answer is that it depends on your company’s needs, current financial situation, and existing workloads of IT staff. Beyond that, even if a tool fulfills company goals, it may be difficult or unwieldy for end users, decreasing productivity and output.

Although best-of-breed can address a specific need, on the current IT landscape, having a unified platform can: 

  • Streamline operations, especially as remote work becomes the new norm
  • Reduce costs during times of financial instability
  • Address the most possible pain points with the least amount of implementation

JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® is one such all-in-one platform, handling nearly every identity and access management requirement today’s organizations face, all from a convenient cloud-based console. That means that you can ensure your employees, whether remote or in-office, are able to securely access virtually all of their IT resources under one centralized identity.

Learn More

Contact us if you would like to learn more about all-in-one identity and access management through JumpCloud.

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