When you're putting together the best technology solutions for your hospitality business, you often have two choices. Either you look for a provider of a platform that addresses most, if not all, technological aspects of your business or a "best-of-breed" approach that marries together many different systems into a tech stack. A stack refers to a combination of independent technologies that help businesses optimise their operational processes.
There are pros and cons to each approach, and fundamentally it would depend on your business needs.
It’s worth saying though that when chosen properly, a carefully cultivated best-of-breed tech stack made up of deeply integrated systems can act like one single platform, with each part providing best-in-class functionality.
So with that in mind, here are 10 reasons to choose a best-of-breed solution:
1. Better user experience.
The cornerstone of good user experience is designing solutions with end users’ needs, behaviours, and values at the core. Thanks to their narrower scope, best-of-breed solutions can provide a user experience that is tailored to primary users’ needs and preferences, making it intuitive to learn and pleasant to use on a daily basis. If your tech looks too clunky and over cluttered with applications, people will stop using it, find a workaround on a spreadsheet and your entire software spend is lost. Always think of the user first.
2. Vendor flexibility
You're not locked into one provider: With the best-of-breed approach, it is easy for a business to remove or consolidate systems over time as required. If something goes wrong in one area, that vendor can easily be swapped or paired with another while keeping all other systems in place. With an all-in-one system, changing vendors affects the entire company. If you're not happy with the service or the product, it can be difficult and costly to switch providers. With a best-of-breed tech stack, you have the flexibility to switch out individual components as needed without having to replace your entire system. When a new and exciting solution comes along it is relatively easy to add it to your tech stack and to pivot easily to take advantage of new opportunities.
3. ROI in months, not years.
Because they involve fewer stakeholders and offer specialised solutions, best-of-breed systems have lighter training and implementation requirements — making them a good fit for teams that need results today and can’t wait for a lengthy implementation.
Best-of-breed applications are often quicker to deploy and with intuitive design, are easier for end users to adopt than full product suites, which means a faster return on investment.
Since best-of-breed solutions are generally lighter and take less time to implement, you will not only reduce development time costs but you will also see results faster.
4. Frequent updates and innovation
Best-of-breed software prides itself on retaining the title “best.” To do this, it needs to constantly stay up to date on consumer feedback and market trends, and react accordingly by rolling out new features and improvements. As a customer, it’s always nice to be on the receiving end of these continual updates.
5. More agility, less risk.
Best-of-breed solutions have much lower implementation and start-up costs, meaning the risk of getting locked into a system that doesn’t work is much lower. Some systems reduce risk further by offering ‘proof of concept’ or trial periods so you can try the solution before committing to a long-term contract.
Having systems that are adaptable to change is critical.As your hospitality business grows, you'll need to be able to scale your technology solutions accordingly. Best-of-breed software is designed to work for all clients ranging from small businesses to large enterprises. With a best-of-breed tech stack, it's often easier and less expensive to add on new components or to increase the capacity of existing ones. On the other hand, all-in-one platforms can sometimes be limited in their ability to scale.
If the pandemic taught us anything it's that businesses that can quickly adapt are those that survive and thrive. Don't get locked into one way of operating. Build flexibility into your core.
7. Seamless integrations and data transparency
Employing more than one best-of-breed solution doesn’t mean your data is doomed to be siloed. Many best-of-breed solutions offer significant flexibility, allowing you to connect multiple systems through light integrations or simple processes.
Open API is the standard now for best-of-breed software, allowing for easy integration and data exchange between vendors. For instance, the right workforce management system usually integrates perfectly with most payroll platforms, busting the data re-entry myth surrounding the use of best-of-breed. At this point, API integration is so advanced that a collection of best-of-breed vendors almost feels like a single system.
8. In-depth tools and functionality
Best-of-breed software comes with richer and more diverse tools due to its specialised nature. The expertise of the software empowers businesses with increased functionality to maximise performance within a particular niche.
9. Expert solutions
By nature, best-of-breed solutions are hyper-focused on doing one thing well. By taking a best-of-breed approach, businesses can handpick applications based on the features and functions that they require—and feel confident they’re using the best tools across the organisation, whether it’s a CRM platform, scheduling and workforce management solution, accounting dashboard, or marketing solution.
10. Superior industry knowledge
Along with platform providers, the companies, and people, that deliver cloud-based, best-of-breed applications have extensive experience in and within the industries they specialise in. They’ve implemented solutions for hundreds of organisations and helped thousands of end-users to become more productive - and the company more profitable. As a result, companies that provide best-of-breed applications are often able to help their customers uncover additional ways to leverage workforce resources within their organisation or manage operations more effectively.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to go with a best of breed tech stack or an all-in-one platform comes down to your specific business needs. There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches. But if you're looking for more flexibility, control, and scalability, a best of breed tech stack is probably the way to go.
Yes, it might sound like the simplest route to go with a one stop shop tech solution for your hospitality business. However, bear in mind that many teams have been burned by painful multi-year implementations and infrequent updates. Others find themselves stuck with monolithic software that forces a square peg into a round hole, leading to workarounds and manual steps outside the system. This is not just inefficient—it also compromises the integrity of your data and leaves you with an incomplete picture.
No one can be the best at all things. If you have a single provider that does everything for you, there’s little chance it can do everything well.