November 23rd, 2020 | 5 MIN READ

Full Suite Monolith or Best-of-Breed Solution: Which One is Right for you? [Part 1]

Written by author_profile_images Shaneil Lafayette

Shaneil is a Commerce Technology Advocate and Data Analyst at Elastic Path. As a part of the Product Marketing Team, she focuses on enabling the market on the commerce solution technology that helps digitally-driven brands drive revenue growth.

Choosing between a Full Suite Monolith or Best-of-Breed Solution can be a difficult discussion. Some brands are looking for an all in one solution while other brands are looking for a more customizable solution. So which will be the right fit for you?

In this episode of Taco 'Bout Composable Commerce, Devon Hillard from Black Magic Consulting gives us the first consideration for choosing full suite monolith or best-of-breed solution: Full Solution Features


Full Suite monolith or best-of- breed. This can be such a tricky one for brands to decide on, because on one hand, some businesses want something that's quick and easy to set up, so they'd rather have one vendor provide everything.

Only to find out that set up can be a bit too rigid for their requirements. Now, on the other hand, we have businesses that want something that's highly innovative and highly customizable, like best of breeds solutions. But that's usually associated with more complexity and can seem a little bit more daunting to compose. So, which one is going to be right for you?

Well, today we have Devon Hillard, from Black Magic Consulting, and he's here to Taco' Bout it! So with these pros and cons, what are the main things that businesses should be looking out for in deciding whether or not they should go with full suite or best-of-breed?



Absolutely, So for me, I think there's three main decision points that would lead a company to either head down one path or the other. The first one is going to be features and ensuring that the feature set of your end state eCommerce solution, matches your business requirements. So, for instance, many monolithic solutions don't have any, or at least a strong B2B Component. So if B2B is a big part of your business, those solutions simply aren't going to work for you. That's obviously sort of a deal breaker and would mean you're going to have to pursue a path that allows you to meet those business needs by selecting the components that fit those requirements. For instance, with the best of breed approach. So making sure that you have the features that match your business requirements, I think that's the number one deciding factor, because otherwise it's all a waste of time.



Yeah, I mean, you make a really good point. I've heard that there are many different B2B companies that need special functionality, so that's like their custom business requirements that they don't have features that support these business requirements. So some of these air, like price negotiations or custom catalogs or even spending limits, and I think those are some of the backend functionality things that best- -of-breed solutions or like those headless micro services solutions, help to solve that full suite vendors just simply can't keep up with. Am I right, Devon?



Absolutely. I think that that's sort of the lion's share of the potential issues there is making sure that the back end feature set matches your needs. There can also be limitations on the front end as well. So certain kind of packaged Monolithic eCommerce solutions specifically on the SaaS side, especially on the SaaS side can have really limited ability for you to customize the UI or the leverage APIs to drive nonstandard, end user apps or appliances, which could be really critical for your business. So it's not just the backend feature set. But if you want to have a really unique and innovative user experience through the catalog view or the buy flow, that may not be possible with certain kind of SaaS solutions where everything's kind of rolled into one and you're kind of limited with what pieces you're able to customize on the front end. Or if you want to have in store kiosk or a personal shopper device or, the tablet inside of a Tesla. Those were some unique scenarios that where the front end may not be well supported by a more monolithic solution.



And this is going to be even more important for those brands who are really focused on unique differentiation and wanting to outpace their competitors, multiple storefronts, delivering different channels, and I've seen where there are brands that have just completely struggled because they lack the flexibility to be able to deploy these types of experiences.



I think that's a critical point. I think that not only do businesses really have to be flexible and agile in order to kind of maintain their position within their niches competitive landscape. But you can't just be running a basic catalog and click to purchase eCommerce store like you could five or 10 years ago. Amazon is kind of eating that world up. You really need to maintain brand differentiation, a specific kind of value, add experience on your website that goes beyond adding things to a cart. I think that's really important and obviously recently we've had this whole cove in 19 situation where companies that were able to very quickly roll out in store pickup or on-curb pickup and have a tighter integration with their mobile app, versus some of the competitors that got stuck with sort of a bit of a slower to evolve eCommerce platform. You could see the massive difference in business there because people were kind of flocking to the companies that could provide them more effective and more efficient ways to shop in this kind of new world. I think it's a key example of why it's important to have that flexibility and that agility these days with your eCommerce platform.


So speed, flexibility, agility; those are becoming even more important. So now that we've spoken about features, what's next?

Share on


Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive a welcome email shortly.

By submitting this you agree with our privacy policy.