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Dec 11, 2020 | 6 minute read

Full Suite Monolith or Best-of-Breed Solution- Part 2: Cost

written by Shaneil Lafayette

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: Cost



Full suite monolith or best-of-breed solution. 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, that set up could 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-breed 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. The last thing that you mentioned, I believe, is costs. So what are your thoughts on that ?



Cost, obviously, super important to any business. It's a little tricky, I think, with eCommerce solutions that we're talking about because you can range from, you know, Shopify, which may be a great solution for certain companies. And that's, you know, $59 a month. Up to large, monolithic eComm on prem installations, that might cost you $5Million to launch with And so you have this giant range just on the monolithic side.

And then, if you start looking at Composable options, we're talking about best-of-breed vendors. That could be a handful of relatively affordable SAS offerings, or it could be 25 or 30 disparate systems, some of which are quite expensive. And then you also have the integration work of tying all that together, figuring out how you deploy that glue in that front end. So there could be, you know, kind of any range of costs of upfront launch. I think in general, the Composable Commerce approach might have a higher up front cost than at least some of the cheaper SAS based, like Shopify, etc., solutions.

But the big thing to look at isn't just what does it cost to launch? What does it cost to get going? But long term over the next five years? Over the next 10 years, what does it cost to roll out new features to stay competitive in the commerce landscape and to be agile, enough to be really successful and kind of grow that business? And that's where I think the best-of-breed approach, where you're leveraging flexible solutions, you have an integration layer. That could really buy you a lot of efficiency. And that means it takes less development time to roll out new features, and that means it costs less.

So your overall kind of total cost of ownership for a Composable solution may well be much lower than a monolithic approach, even if the up front cost was lower for that monolith. Just because the ongoing development and maintenance of that platform might take a lot more man hours, frankly. So it's not an easy answer. There's no simple answer that this is cheaper and this is more expensive. But it's definitely something that every company should look at and figure out what they think that kind TCO looks like and where they're going to make a smart investment for the future.



Yeah, I think you said something that was so important Devon, and it's I think a lot of people get caught up with just thinking about the up front cost and you're right enabled for us to be able to keep up with our competitors and keeping up with our customer expectations as well. We probably will have to be rapidly iterating and making changes and adapting to the new world, like he had said with COVID. So it's so important to not just consider your upfront costs but your total cost. The cost of not just getting live, but staying live.



Absolutely. I think that if you look at most companies, especially ones that have sort of a larger technical force in house, where they're doing that development or they're using a third party extensively your costs, you're loaded costs, especially for your head count, and you're tooling to run the site to build new features, to do QA, to do deployments, to do your monitoring; that is not an insignificant investment and can easily out shadow your cost to launch on your up front kind of licensing fees.

So I think it really is important to look at the longer term and to say, you know, hey, you know, if I'm gonna be pushing out 50 feature releases a year, you know, where can I save money or what's gonna cost me more or less? Based on the efficiency of the system and the ease of rolling out new features and making changes. And I think that's where Composable solutions and, frankly, more modern solutions where you have more of an API driven approach and you have folks who are, you know, the running headless, for instance, and you can make significant changes to the UI and UX, including even sort of business flows without doing back end releases, without touching back end systems is a huge advantage there. From both an agility standpoint, but that translates down to a cost standpoint as well.



So we've spoken about the three different points that brands need to consider. With your extensive experience, tell us how Black Magic Consulting will actually help us move towards these differentiated experiences for the future.



Certainly. So we I mean, like I mentioned earlier, I've got 22 years of experience in the Enterprise eCommerce world. The rest of my team has similar levels of experience in marketing strategy, all kinds of components to being a successful eCommerce business and direct hands on experience at dozens of Fortune 1000 companies. And what that allows us to do is to come in with a client and say, you know, look very carefully where they are, where they want to go, what the competitive landscape looks like, what their strengths are, evaluate their digital maturity and help figure out what the best course forward looks like. And that could be to stay the course with the platform they're on, that could be to jump ship entirely to something new. It could be a gradual transition, leveraging a headless approach. There's lots of options, and it really is all about finding the right solution for the right business. And I think that's something that our experience really gives us a leg up on providing the best kind, of course forward for large businesses.



Absolutely well, Devon, thank you so much for walking us through your thought process of choosing between a full suite and best of breed. If you have any questions of whether or not you should be taking a different approach, and if you want a consultation with Devon and please feel free to reach out to us, we would be happy to help you out!