EY Reflects on How Best-Of-Breed Got Better


Flash back to the ’90s, when the best-of-breed as an IT architecture approach was all the rage.

Except it often became a source of rage due to the challenges of interoperability and complexity of the underlying technology. Picking the best software for certain tasks made sense, but the various platforms weren’t designed to work seamlessly with each other.

Time-consuming, costly installations were completed on-site, making it difficult to pivot nimbly to new solutions as they become available. Ultimately, companies moved to a more complete package or suite approach, purchasing complex tools as a group from the same vendor.

But after more than two decades of maturity, the full ecosystem of people, processes, and technology has made best-of-breed worthy of a second look. Demands for better interoperability between software have brought us a new evolution of middleware and interfaces that have proven to be quite effective.

Cloud technology has made on-site installations and updates obsolete and upended the traditional purchasing model in favor of subscription pricing. Additionally, the software itself is more capable than ever and increasingly refined.

One excellent real-world example can be found in BlackLine software, one of the most crucial Ernst & Young LLP (EY) alliances. BlackLine is also a vital part of our Agile Finance approach, which helps our clients become more adaptable, insightful, and cost-effective in the execution of their finance function.

The best-of-breed approach characterized by using BlackLine solutions, along with enterprise packages like SAP, is why we’re proud to be the exclusive Premier Titanium sponsor of InTheBlack 2019.

We are focused on bringing the full spectrum of everything we do to our clients across all of our service lines and practice areas, uniting disciplines across a wide spectrum, including board matters, technical accounting, treasury, risk, and a lot more. To best serve our clients, we also must bring a complete and well-thought-out set of technology to complement that knowledge with capabilities.

In my role leading the EY global finance network within Advisory, I have found that BlackLine offers us and our clients unique opportunities around data, analytics, and trust. It’s also a complete end-to-end platform that enables leading practices around the close process.

Even better is how the tools and technologies have enabled improved collaboration among people and across organizations.

In the same way that the early days of the internet created high expectations based on many promises, only to end in the dot-com bubble, the initial promise of best-of-breed may have happened before the associated technologies were ready. But like many ideas that were ahead of their time, companies like BlackLine are now catching up with fresh thinking and new approaches.

Companies that want their finance functions to be the best may find that the old ideas around best-of-breed are worth revisiting so they can be applied in a new way.

Attend EY’s session at InTheBlack on Wednesday, September 18 at 9:00 am. Duracell will be joining them to share how they gained efficiency, visibility, and control on just the first step of their finance automation journey. Register here if you haven’t already.