Let’s say that, for your next date-night, you choose the new fancy steakhouse in town. Their chef is world-famous, and you’ve never seen such stellar reviews for a pricey steak dinner. They promise to cater to your every need for the evening, and the meal does not disappoint. That is, until your dessert arrives. Where the rest of your dinner thrilled, your bland, boring soufflé falls, literally and figuratively, flat.
Sure, you might go back for that killer steak, but the next time the waiter asks if you’d like a dessert menu, you politely pass, despite your insistent sweet-tooth. Why would you settle for a lackluster lava cake, when the best bakery in town is right down the street? The bakery staff are experts in their craft, and their passion and expertise are reflected in their unique creations and uncompromising service. You know that their meringues and macarons will never, ever disappoint. Dessert is important! Why would you compromise?
Please try to remember that brilliant steak dinner and its disappointing dessert when you’re considering whether to choose a Fully Integrated Enterprise Solution or a Best of Breed product. Before you decide, let’s consider 3 ways an All-In-One solution can (and likely will) disappoint you.
First let’s meet the players:
The All-In-One, or Fully Integrated Enterprise Solution
The All-In-One solution makes a compelling case for wrangling all of your business operations onto one platform: There is one interface, consistent across your organization. All of your users have a “single point of contact” for their support needs. Training and implementation are supposed to be quicker and cheaper. An all-inclusive pricing model may be cheaper and easier to budget for. You have one contract with one company that says it will meet all of your needs. What they don’t tell you is that their “all-in-one” is actually a hodge-podge of products that have been bundled and bootstrapped together as its parent company acquired smaller businesses on the way to becoming an all-in-one behemoth.
The Best-of-Breed (or B.O.B.) Solution
A Best-of-Breed solution is a software tool or product the specializes in providing the best features, functions, components, and service, for one particular part of the value chain. Each B.O.B. solution is, as their name suggests, the best at what they do, and they don’t try to do everything. B.O.B. applications offer an organization the opportunity to implement a separate, best-fit solution for each part of the company. With B.O.B.s, you can choose products with the most and best functionality for each part of your unique business. Their team lives and breathes this product, and this product only. They are the best at what they do, and it’s their passion to keep making it better. They have the capability to not only address your issues quickly, but to customize solutions specific to your company.
Now that systems are cloud-based and more intuitive, the idea that training and implementation with a B.O.B. is slower and more expensive often doesn’t match reality. If implementation and training take more time, it’s likely because the B.O.B. is taking good care of you, customizing your system to your needs, and making sure you feel comfortable using it. If the B.O.B. implementation sounds expensive, it’s probably because of the numerous fees the all-in-one hasn’t told you about yet.
You’ve decided that the stated cons of the All-In-One are outweighed by its many benefits, and you’ve signed a 5 year contract. Here’s where the disappointment begins:
- They do it all, but one or more parts of their product is seriously flawed.
Let’s say you’re a mid-sized retailer. You purchase an all-in-one solution from a vendor who is exceptionally strong in retail and e-Commerce. Your new platform will do everything for your company: accounting, human resources recruiting and management, as well as payroll. Remember how strong it is in your core business? That proves to be true. But the products used by your HR department? Those products are just ok. Your retail company sells products to consumers. In order to do that, you need to hire sharp, savvy retail sales associates. Enter a sub-par application process and not only are the recruiters frustrated at the inferior recruiting and onboarding process, but applicants are turned off by the confusing, sluggish, unprofessional application process, and are moving on to consider other potential employers.
Even if payroll is satisfied with their end of the product, how much will the sub-par, tacked-on recruiting system cost you in terms of quality applicants? In terms of frustrated recruiters who might do better in new jobs of their own? It would be like the steak place acquiring the bakery down the street, shuttering it, and moving the bakers in-house to the tiny prep-space by the meat locker. They’re working from the same recipes, but without all of their original equipment and staff, the bakery’s in-house output is stale and underwhelming, and their remaining staff are unhappy and considering leaving.
By contrast, with B.O.B. solutions deployed in all of your departments, each part of your company is using a tailor-made solution from a specialized vendor who is the best at what they do. Not only will each of those solutions work as advertised, they’ll also be more customizable based on how each of your teams works best.
- Your “single point of contact” becomes a rabbit-hole of despair.
All-in-one solutions will typically make a case that being a single point of contact for all of their services makes for a better user experience. When you need support, they say, you only make one phone call. However, this rarely proves to be true. Imagine hundreds (thousands even!) of enterprise users, all experiencing issues, all calling in to one support department, who specializes in nothing. Your frustrated HR team? They’re calling the same person as the Marketing team, and the IT team, and the Finance team, and that’s only in your company. That intrepid rep will answer the phone and do his best to assist all of these users, but is he an expert in recruiting/marketing/IT/finance? How could he be? Most tangible resolutions will require being transferred to another department. How many reps, departments, escalations you’ll go through before your issue is actually resolved is anyone’s guess, which is no one’s best user experience.
Imagine, as above, the steakhouse wait staff as your new single point of contact for dinner. They serve dinner beautifully, but are dumbfounded by questions like the difference between macarons and macaroons. They’ll have to go ask the baker, who is up to her elbows in flour, and can’t meet with you right away – can she call you back later?
Imagine now, each of your departments, with its own B.O.B. solution, being able to reach a real human who is a real expert on the first call. Your team gets to know the support team at the B.O.B. and can rely on their issues being resolved quickly and efficiently. The B.O.B. support team is like the bakers under their own roof: experts on their product, adequately supplied, and happy to help.
- Through thick and especially thin, you are stuck with your All-in-One.
Let’s consider both of the scenarios above: the recruiting functionality of your all-in-one is just meh, and all of your departments are frustrated with the speed and service they’re getting from support. Your recruiting team would really like to change things up and fix their processes. What can you tell them? Further, let’s consider the probable: your all-in-one has to go offline for scheduled maintenance, or heaven-forbid, has an unexpected downtime. Who can forget the Amazon Web Services (AWS) fiasco from earlier this year? Can you afford to have your entire system offline for even 10 minutes? No matter what happens, you’ve signed a long-term contract with an enormous company who barely knows you exist – you are stuck with them, and good luck getting any satisfactory response to your valid complaints.
With a B.O.B., you avoid many, if not all, of these hazards: Working with specialized vendors means that you have more opportunities to customize elements of their product. Additionally, when a department wants to change or improve processes, they can. Further, any downtimes for maintenance or upgrades will affect only one business area, instead of taking your whole company offline. B.O.B.s like TAM are also less likely to require long-term contracts. They may be month-to-month or allow flexible terms. They will work hard to earn your business, instead of binding you by contract.
In conclusion, you should choose the option that’s the best fit for your needs:
When considering which solution is the best for your business, keep in mind that you’ll probably want to put less focus on choosing between brands, and more on the solutions that each provides. Remember that all segments of your company affect the whole, and that it’s important to provide the best options for each department. Finally, beware the siren song of the all-in-one, and remember the disappointing dessert at the end of your steak dinner. An all-in-one may claim to be a jack-of-all-trades, but we all remember how that saying ends.
Those using The Applicant Manager already know the joys of using a Best of Breed Applicant Tracking System. If you’re having trouble choosing a solution, and would like to know more about how The Applicant Manager can fulfill your recruiting needs, please contact us for more information.