Most businesses have multiple systems they use to run their business. This becomes problematic when disparate systems cause these types of problems:
- Duplicative data entry
- Different versions of the ”truth”
- Missing data in one system or the other
- General chaos
So what can you do?
People have generally chosen specific systems because the systems matched how they work and what they wanted to accomplish. This had led to a “best of breed” solution set. Generally the best of breeds don’t naturally “talk” to each other very well.
So there are basically two solutions:
- Switch to an all-encompassing suite that covers everything you want in one system where the different components of the system are naturally integrated by design.
- Develop integrations between your existing systems. This requires custom software development.
The first option sounds better because, voila, it’s already all there. All you need to do is set it up and start using it. Some problems here:
- You have to migrate your existing data to the new system
- You need to license, implement, and train on, a new system
- Some components of the suite may not be as good as the systems you were using
The second option sounds less appealing because as soon as someone says, “custom software development” your eyes roll back into your head and all you can hear is “Cha-ching.”
This is why I think custom integrations may be the better way to go:
- The software developer can often use existing integration components that speed up the development project and have already been tested a lot
- You can design the integration the way you want, to do the things you want it to do
- You can use the systems you already know and like
- If your needs change, you can modify the integration
- It will probably cost less and take less time to implement than a new software suite
It may be unappealing to undertake a custom software development project, but it’s worth considering if you like your current systems and you just want them to play together better.