The Best-of-Breed Approach: How To Build Better User Experiences, Faster

Today, it’s hard to imagine life without a smartphone. Not only do you plan your day, connect with friends and family, and set your alarm clock with the small piece of technology, but you also book your plane tickets, order your taxis, conduct business, and more.

Pew Research Center recently conducted a study on American device ownership over time. The results show that in just 5 years, smartphone ownership has nearly doubled. What is causing such a dramatic shift in the way we interact with technology? Simply put, better user experiences. The way applications are being built is making it easier to create more responsive, self-service experiences for users on all devices.

Developers are now relying on the Best-of-Breed approach to build these better experiences, rather than building from scratch. This approach accelerates the speed at which innovation occurs, not only benefitting the developers who are building them, but also the end users of the applications.

What does “Best-of-Breed” mean?

A Best-of-Breed application is made up of multiple, independent microservices that are compiled into a single application experience. Each of these “microservices” provides a specific piece of functionality, independent of one another, that can be added, removed, or replaced in the application whenever needed. This approach to technology allows businesses to build exactly to users’ unique expectations at a much faster pace, replacing the traditional on-premise and custom software development approaches to software that are known to be slow, expensive and/or inflexible.

Take, for example, Uber. In 2009, Uber founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp decided there was a better way to taxi. They developed what is now one of the most popular apps on the market. Rather than spending their time trying to write code for a comprehensive taxi service, they focused on one thing: how to hire and manage drivers using technology. Then, through the combination of services from Google Maps, Braintree, Twilio, SendGrind, and others, Uber created a completely new user experience by simply connecting these technologies, rather than building from scratch. Why spend time building a map for your application, when Google has already perfected it?

This Best-of-Breed approach enables the digital self-service experience we have come to expect from technology. We don’t want to stand outside in the cold to flag down a taxi, we’d rather order one from an app from the comfort of our home. We don’t want to take the time to fax in a business order, we’d rather just purchase what we need online. These types of experiences are becoming faster and easier to create, thanks to microservices and the Best-of-Breed approach.

What does this mean for you?

Digital transformation is more accessible than ever. Step away from software projects that take large budgets and extensive timelines with on-premise software or custom development. These types of solutions can be made more efficiently, affordably, and flexible using platforms and microservices. Take the time to understand the experience your users are looking for, and be responsive to their needs.  Choosing a development team with experience in the Best-of-Breed approach allows you to build solutions that will make your business more operationally sound, as well as keep your customers happy.

Pew Research Group, Device Ownership Over Time, 12 July 2016

About the Author:

This article was written by Emily Erickson, Marketing Specialist at Four51. Four51 tames the complexity of B2B eCommerce and order management while helping you deliver the modern, mobile buying experiences your customers demand. Four51’s product,, is an API-first eCommerce platform and allows you to create best-of-breed applications that easily integrate with your back-end systems and 3rd-party microservices. Focus on tailoring user experiences, not building from scratch.

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