Should IT policy trump business considerations?

Best of breed systems aren't always the best solution, especially when they are unable to deliver a holistic view of the business and in turn hamper business agility.

Ten or so years ago, IT departments were enthusiastically adopting best-of-breed software policies.  Different software applications had areas of particular strength, so it made some sense for a company to cherry pick its way through the market offerings, choosing only those applications that best fit the company needs.  
Companies purchased ERP [enterprise resource planning] software, warehousing systems, financials software, customer resource management systems, supply chain management systems, asset management systems, transport systems and more.  Rather than requiring one big deployment project, the best of breed policy allowed IT departments to focus on discrete needs and to purchase and implement applications over a period of years.  Because each solution typically involved a limited number of people or departments, the impact of the deployments was contained.  There seemed to be less “bad press” or disruption to the overall business compared to a major integrated systems deployment. 
Fast forward to today, however, and things have changed. Software vendors have realised that there is far more money to be made by offering stronger, more comprehensive, tightly integrated ERP suites. Over the past few years vendors have been actively acquiring technologies and developing their systems, so that today, the market offers a wide range of integrated solutions for every need. 
Integration begins with deployment


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