For IT managers the debate about whether best-of-breed products are better than an enterprise suite mostly comes down to cost.
When deciding what should be consolidated onto a single platform and what should remain best-of-breed, cost tends to be the number-one decision driver.
University of Technology Sydney IT division director, Anne Dwyer, says when it comes to consolidating apps it really is about money as there is no real preference for best-of-breed or enterprise suites.
"If you choose to go with best-of-breed you’ll find you will have to figure out how to integrate the system. Then again, some of the enterprise suites are no good at integrating anyway, so it’s not always as simple as saying one is better than the other," Dwyer said.
For Divine Limited computer support Jon Ang, limited staff numbers means some organizations are pushed to consolidate.
"It’s important for us to consolidate, because it makes our job easier, there is less support [needed]," Ang said.
When deciding what should be consolidated onto a single platform and what should remain best-of-breed, Ang also agrees that it mainly comes down to cost.
"We have about a million meetings, mainly getting feedback from each department to try and work out what is the best solution. But often the deciding factor is cost," Ang said.
However, that doesn't mean it's easy game for the big players. Boehringer Ingelheim IS manager Matthew Perry has little time for vendors of enterprise suites.
"They’re cumbersome and expensive; I haven’t heard one good story about the implementation of these products; they are all over-budget and over-schedule," Perry said.
Basically, Perry says, it comes down to both functionality and cost.
"If best-of-breed meets the needs of the business, then we’re willing to go for it," he said.
"However, we’re continuously carrying out projects, and in each case we work out what the business solution requires and go from there. We don’t always have a preference for one or the other, unless there’s a reason to do so."
One TAFE information manager, who requested anonymity, says cost shouldn't be the only factor.
He said cost is important, but other issues such as the critical need to reduce duplication of data is also a major consideration.
"Vendors are extremely good at marketing, so you need to spend the time and resources to research the offers that are out there and make decisions on a case-by-case basis and not necessarily walk into the process with a preference of enterprise suites over best-of-breed."