Best of breed products focus on one thing and do it better than any other product does. In their area of expertise, they are technologically superior, offer more features and are often more comfortable to use than the competition.
A best of breed strategy is one that selects these products to provide the desired services and integrates them into a cohesive functioning system.
If unified communications (UC) is seen as the integration of multiple and diverse communication services such as telephony, messaging, conferencing, mobility and presence into a single system.
Then, deploying a best of breed strategy in UC means looking at each communication service requirement independently and selecting the best product for the job to be part of the system.
The alternative is a single-vendor solution. In UC that means a predefined and integrated set of communication services all provided by the same vendor.
In reality, most UC products offer more than one function, and no single product provides the complete set of UC services. So, even in a single-vendor situation, some product integration is necessary.
This being the case, it seems obvious that a best of breed strategy for UC is preferable, but let’s look at the reasons why this is so in more detail.
1. Why deploy a best of breed strategy?
The best product technologically
Best of breed products are deemed to be technically and functionally superior to all others in their particular field, mainly due to their single-minded focus.
Because of their smaller size and shorter development cycles, they are also able to offer more frequent upgrades and be more up to date than their counterparts in a larger multi-focus single-vendor offering.
They provide IT and users with a communication service they desire and they do it well.
Best fit for your organization
With a best of breed strategy, you are able to tailor your UC to your business.
One size does not fit all!
You can purchase only the services you want when you want them.
With a single-vendor solution, you may end up with functionality that your business does not use or want.
Lower overall cost
Related to the point above is the overall cost of your UC.
It goes without saying that if you are paying for features, you don’t use you are spending more than you need to.
Also, the cost of largely integrated products is usually more than the combined price of smaller more focussed products.
A more flexible system
Because a best of breed strategy is made up of independent modules, you have the ability to add or remove elements as desired to keep your UC current and in line with business requirements.
Furthermore, making these smaller changes is also far less disruptive than changing a larger product performing multiple functions.
Multiple exit strategies – no single-vendor lock-in
Having a multi-vendor and modular UC system makes it a lot easier to replace elements that are no longer useful or that you want to change for something better another vendor provides.
You are not contractually bound to all your UC elements as you might be in a single-vendor situation.
The above points relate directly to the nature of a best of breed strategy, but they are not the only gains to be had.
A multi-vendor, modular best of breed UC system also has other less direct benefits for your business.
It allows user-centric choices to be made
The tools already being used by your users are a good indication of what works for them.
Even if they are not considered industry best of breed they may be best of breed for your organization.
No training is needed nor is there any resistance to user adoption to overcome. The ability to incorporate these products into your UC is part and parcel of a best of breed strategy.
Enables leverage on existing product
Again, related to the point above is the ability of a best of breed strategy, because of its modular nature, to incorporate existing products into the system, thereby extending their lifespan.
There is no need to rip and replace, as would be the case if one moved to a new single-vendor system.
Facilitates phased migrations
Leading on, during a migration a best of breed UC would lend itself to a phased methodology.
This is the safest and preferred way to perform migrations in UC!
2. How to deploy a best of breed UC system?
A single-vendor UC system is often easier to deploy and manage. The management interfaces of UC products can be complex and vendor specific.
There is a scarcity of talent available that can deploy and support the various services and resources of a best of breed system.
But, do these disadvantages outweigh the benefits of a best of breed system when there is a solution to them?
Kurmi Software is by nature multi-vendor and hybrid and equips you to streamline, simplify, delegate, and integrate UC management workflows.
Kurmi Software offers a comprehensive suite of solutions capable of interacting with major vendor UC system components paving the way to a successful best of breed UC deployment and management.