Assembling the dream team for your tech stack: The best-of-breed approach

Best-of-breed vs. all-in-one: Why the best-of-breed approach is the winning strategy for your business

Manuela Tchoe
Manuela Tchoe
Senior Content Writer, commercetools
Published 10 January 2024
Estimated reading time minutes

Picture this: Your tech stack has the right solutions that best fit your business needs, with each tool or service working in tandem like a dream team to meet your goals. This is exactly what “best-of-breed” solutions enable you to do! Get to know what best-of-breed technology is and the undeniable benefits this approach can unlock for your business. 

Assembling the dream team for your tech stack: The best-of-breed approach

Back in 1992, the United States men’s Olympic basketball team assembled legendary athletes like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Each player brought his own set of skills and strengths and, together, formed the “Dream Team” that conquered all adversaries and won the gold medal. 

When we think of technology, such a scenario would be like a dream come true. Imagine having the Michael Jordan of checkout, the Scottie Pippen of product discovery and the Magic Johnson of loyalty tech. Just imagine the results your business could achieve! 

Well, with a best-of-breed approach, this is now possible: By assembling a “dream team” of specialized tools or software, each chosen for its excellence in a specific function, you can create a high-performing and versatile technological landscape that, in turn, brings in results in revenue, customer experience and lower costs. Just as a dream team maximizes performance in sports, best-of-breed technology optimizes efficiency and effectiveness across diverse business functions.

Why best-of-breed is rising now

For too long, businesses have relied on one-size-fits-all solutions that, as the name suggests, provide a platform with all services and tools embedded. Such an approach may sound uncomplicated, especially as companies want easy access to technology solutions. However, the reality is that all-in-one solutions provide services and tools that aren’t necessarily ideal for certain use cases or features. For example, a checkout functionality may not be flexible enough to add customization options, like premium delivery services or promotional goodies. 

The result is that businesses must compromise on performance in exchange for getting all functionalities in one place. If the company just needs a standard search, checkout and carts functionalities, that approach can work just fine. But if your business wants to truly differentiate in a crowded marketplace, an all-in-one solution just doesn’t cut it. 

In short, the idea behind best-of-breed technology is that all vendors excel at every aspect of technology; some may specialize in certain areas or offer more advanced features than others. By using a combination of vendors, businesses can create an IT system that is tailored to their specific needs and preferences, boosting revenue, customer satisfaction and growth.

Best-of-breed and composable tech: What’s what?

Best-of-breed and composable technology share a common goal of enhancing flexibility and performance in the business ecosystem, but composability goes beyond the selection and integration of top-performing tools for specific functions. What a composable tech stack does is emphasize modular and interchangeable components, allowing businesses to build and adapt their tech stack dynamically

Best-of-breed solutions, like specialized players in a dream sports team, are akin to pre-selected high-performing components. Composable technology, on the other hand, resembles the ability to swap players in and out of that team as needed, adapting to changing circumstances. Together, they form a dynamic synergy that empowers businesses to tailor their technology stack precisely to their evolving needs while maintaining a high standard of performance across the board. 

5 advantages of best-of-breed technology

Let’s explore the top five benefits of this approach. 

#1 Flexibility and customization

Businesses can mix and match different solutions based on their individual needs, rather than being limited to a pre-packaged solution. This allows companies to create a technology stack that is tailored to their unique workflows, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

#2 Access to top-notch technology and innovation

By using best-of-breed solutions, businesses have access to the most advanced technologies in each specific area. This can give them a competitive edge over competitors who may be using a single, all-in-one solution that may not offer the same level of innovation or features.

Moreover, businesses can enjoy faster innovation cycles as they can incorporate the latest advancements in various technologies without waiting for a comprehensive system upgrade.

#3 Cost savings

Best-of-breed technology can actually lead to cost savings for businesses. By only investing in specific technologies and applications that are necessary for their operations, companies can avoid spending money on unnecessary features and functions that may come with a comprehensive all-in-one solution. Additionally, if one vendor raises their prices or does not meet expectations, businesses can switch to a different vendor for that specific technology.

#4 Integration and orchestration capabilities

With the rise of application programming interfaces (APIs), integration between different software and hardware has become easier than ever before. This means that best-of-breed technologies can seamlessly integrate with each other, creating a cohesive IT system. This also eliminates the need for businesses to rely on a single vendor for all their technology needs.

In addition, orchestration plays a pivotal role in maximizing the benefits of best-of-breed technologies, ensuring that each tool functions harmoniously, thereby maximizing the overall performance of the technology stack. It enables streamlined workflows, data flow and communication between disparate systems, preventing silos and enhancing cross-functional synergy. APIs are also crucial for effective orchestration, creating an interconnected environment where best-of-breed solutions can work in concert. 

#5 Scalability

Best-of-breed technology offers scalability options for businesses as they grow and expand. Because companies are not tied to a single provider or solution, they have the flexibility to add or switch technologies as needed to accommodate their changing needs.

Selecting best-of-breed providers

While the benefits of best-of-breed technology may be clear, the process of selecting and managing multiple vendors can seem overwhelming. However, with proper planning and strategy, companies can effectively navigate the complexities and find their ideal best-of-breed providers. Here’s what you need to consider when selecting your vendors. 

Identify your needs

Identify your business needs and pain points. Determine which specific technologies are necessary for your operations and what features/functions are essential to help narrow down the list of potential vendors.

We recommend creating a sketch of what you’re aiming to achieve. Consider hiring a consultant if you’re not a tech expert or your company lacks these competencies. Alternatively, talk to tech vendors directly, and they’ll organize product design workshops to help you define your goals. 

Research vendors 

Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, research various vendors that specialize in those areas. Look at their track record, customer reviews and case studies to get an idea of their capabilities and reputation in the market. We recommend using unbiased research reports, such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant to get an overview of strengths and cautions for each vendor. 

Consider integration capabilities

As mentioned earlier, integration capabilities are crucial when it comes to best-of-breed technologies. Make sure the vendors you are considering have strong APIs and a history of successful integrations with other applications. 

A shortcut to this process is to evaluate vendors that are MACH®-certified, so you’re assured that solutions are truly API-first. The MACH Alliance can provide you with a list of vendors for the categories you need, from CRM to product delivery and, of course, digital commerce. 

Another straightforward way to select your best-of-breed vendors is by exploring the solutions marketplace of your digital commerce vendor. For instance, commercetools provides a comprehensive Solutions Marketplace, where you can find integrations as well as accelerators. Plus, you can explore commercetools Connect, which provides pre-built integrations that you can plug and play with ease. 

Evaluate workflow compatibility

Make sure that your company and its vendors are on the same page when it comes to project management. It’s not only waterfall vs. agile. The development processes may vary, and the more people from your in-house development team are involved, the bigger the compatibility issues may be. 

Assess easiness of use 

User-friendliness is also an important factor to consider when selecting best-of-breed providers. If a technology is complex and difficult to use, it may not be worth the investment, even if it has advanced features. Look for solutions that are intuitive and require minimal training, that provide tutorials and comprehensive documentation, and even professional services to help you modernize your technology. 

Evaluate scalability

As your business grows, you will need your technology solutions to scale with you. Make sure the vendors you choose have a history of adapting and evolving their technologies to meet changing needs.

In addition, it’s crucial to understand how vendors leverage cloud-native technology, which is a pillar of the composable (and best-of-breed) approach. This is particularly important as maximizing online traffic scalability is only possible with true cloud-native technology, as it’s able to autoscale online capacity according to your customer demand.   

Get the dream team of best-of-breed solutions for your business success

With the fast-paced, constantly evolving nature of technology, best-of-breed solutions are becoming increasingly necessary for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve. By using a combination of specialized vendors and technologies, companies can create highly efficient and customizable IT systems that meet their specific needs and give them a competitive edge. 

With proper planning and strategy, selecting and managing best-of-breed providers can be a streamlined process that leads to long-term success for your business. 

So, why settle for a one-size-fits-all solution when you can embrace best-of-breed technologies and take your business to the next level? There are endless possibilities and potential with best-of-breed technologies, and it’s up to businesses to harness them for their own growth and success. So, don't be afraid to explore and implement various best-of-breed technologies – your business will thank you!

Learn how composable commerce helps businesses create a dream tech stack to build and run outstanding customer experiences by downloading our white paper Why composable commerce will change the way you run your business.

Manuela Tchoe
Manuela Tchoe
Senior Content Writer, commercetools

Manuela Marques Tchoe is a Content Writer at commercetools. She was a Content and Product Marketing Director at conversational commerce provider tyntec. She has written content in partnership with Facebook, Rakuten Viber and other social media platforms.

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