Integrating Business Systems
Every business wants an all-in-one solution these days, which provides a central way to manage their business with one global system.
In the last 5 years I have found countless clients wanting to find such a system, but with all the solutions researched; there doesn’t seem to be one like this that cuts the mustard. This is because we live in an app world which has proved itself to be moduler. The meaning behind that is that because of the diversity of a companies processes there are too many bespoke functions or quirks that render an all-in-one solution inadequate.
Today’s software development is moduler which means you write snippets of code that perform certain functions, this is why the mobile app industry has done so well because there are small apps doing little jobs and adding them all together provide the end user with everything they need to operate as an individual e.g. a phone, a walkman, a spirit level, a navigation system etc.
When it comes to creating an all-in-one integrated software solution at your business you will tend to go down the route of integrating the solutions you already have to reduce the cost and inconvenience of wiping them all out and starting again. Through years of experience this is usually the best method going forward but may require that individual applications are upgraded or replaced to better altrernatives first. It all depends on your budget as to how far you go but I believe that these individual applications out there used for different areas of a business are the best way to leverage appropriate functionality across your business. For example if you have Sage Accounts, Magento Ecommerce, Point-of-Sale Software, and a mobile app feeding from a CRM Portal; to replace all of these would be costly and disruptive and good luck trying to find a one off application that specialises in these areas as sufficiently as all these applications do.
So what is the best method for integration?
The method success of integration is key to the solution achieving it’s aims. Which is why I have researched these area extensively to ensure that each integration I write is consistent with the last and that each learning curve improves the next.
The result of my research has shown that API’s are the key to systems integration for the following reasons.
- They can be reused over and over again
- They provide stable, business operations less prone to error
- They provide consistency, as business logic is deep within the API and doesn’t change depending on the client e.g. Phone, Computer etc
- They can be exposed publicly to increase exposure to your systems.
Gone are the days when we used text files to integrate systems together poor reliability and clunky methods of data transport. Today API’s are changing the way we utilise snippets of code that perform relavent functions useful to our business.