Best of Breed versus Best of Suite

I got an interesting question from a client this week. He wanted to know if we had data on the 'best of breed' versus 'best of suite'. Best of Breed is defined as the best products regardless if these come from more than one company while the Best of Suite is defined as the best company which offers a series of products.

In October 2017, I did a high-level analysis of this situation (https://www.listedtech), but at the time, I didn't conduct a more thorough analysis.

Now, my client was asking for more in-depth information. More specifically, he wanted to know:

  1. The percentage of institutions that rely on a ‘best of breed’ enterprise administrative solutions (SIS and ERP).

  2. The distribution of this situation by size/type of institution;

  3. The historical analysis of this phenomenon. 

To analyze his questions, I started with an overview of the current active systems. For the purpose of this analysis, we only analyzed the situation in terms of SIS, Financial Services and HR.

Overview - best of breed.png

As you can see, 14% of institutions are using the ‘Best of Breed’ approach.

Clearly, larger institution have a higher tendency to go with the ‘Best of Breed’ approach with 32% vs only 10% for smaller institutions.

best of breed by Institution Size.png

To create the historical analysis, I decided to use the implementation dates. Please note that the LISTedTECH database only includes about 70% of implementations dates for SIS and ERP systems.

In the case that an institution had the same product suite at first (Best of Suite) but then opted for a best of breed approach, I initially counted these implementations as ‘Best of Suite’ and then the new product as ‘Best of Breed’.

Historical Analysis - best of breed.png

A few analysis notes: 

  • We can notice a U shape that accentuates as the size of the institution grows.

  • Bigger institutions often had a homegrown system that was implemented in the early 1990s.

    In the past decade, many are switching one or two systems of the three systems studied. We can also note that most of the implementations in the 2010s are cloud implementations.

  • Bigger institutions are moving toward the ‘Best of Breed" approach.

  • Smaller institutions seem happy with a unified suite.

Note on data:

We looked at almost 5,500 Canadian and US higher education institutions.