Over at the Wall Street Journal business technology blog, writer Ben Worthen has a blog on the end of best of breed software.I'm not positive you will be able to read the blog as the WSJ likes to throw up its own wall every once in while to try to get readers to subscribe. The point of the blog was that JDA Software's $346 million purchase of i2 Technologies showed just how defunct the idea of best of breed software has become.
Worthen is right about the demise of specific business process application companies but wrong about the reasons. He points to SAP and Oracle as companies that have rolled up lots of business process companies into integrated suites which for customers removes the pain of doing the application integration themselves. He also offers the opinion that business processes really don't vary that much from company to company.
I'd argue that the problem with the business process companies was that they didn't think big enough. The best of breed vendors (and investors) lost track of the processes that customers really needed to improve in order to stay competitive. Right now companies are trying to get a handle on their energy costs including electricity, heating, air conditioning and fuel usage. The tech companies, and the best of breed business application vendors, have been noticeable by their absence in these areas. Businesses want to find cost savings and efficiencies in their cost pain points and the business software companies totally missed the best of breed opportunity in this area.