Consistent integration of your software application within customer sites

Consistent integration of your software application within customer sites

If your application involves integration to other apps within each customer site, then you have probably found that the integration phase of installation can be time-consuming and frustrating. Your software might be providing, or integrating to, master data lists or financial or ERP applications. The integration will usually follow industry standards – from CSV or XML files through to web services – but they might not be standards that you are confident with.

The solution often ends up being a bespoke development on a site-by-site basis. This achieves a successful outcome for the customer, but it takes time and skill to develop and potentially requires more time and skill to maintain. This approach is legitimate for a small number of installations but does not usually allow enough time to generalise the bespoke portions so that they can used again and again to reduce the time and cost of future installations.

The next progression from development of point to point solutions is to embark on a project to develop one or more “connectors” that you can use for your integration. This has the advantage that it captures and generalises the knowledge that would otherwise be scattered across bespoke configurations. However, unless your integration needs are very specific and narrow there is a risk that the connector project will grow and grow as more features are contemplated. The project would have to build a robust operating framework for the connectors so that they can be successfully deployed to production status. And unless you provide an open architecture for your connectors, you may still experience problems when tackling installations across a range of customer sites.

In some cases, a full-scale project to develop connectors and other integration tools will provide worthwhile additions to your application suite. In other cases, it would become an awkward distraction from your core focus but that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all hope of an integration solution. The software sector already offers a range of integration products, so you can choose to compete in that market with your own connectors, or you can look for an existing product that will satisfy your integration goals.

As with most software, integration products will vary in functionality and price. It may seem that the large, expensive applications are not the unobtrusive integration tools that you were expecting. The integration software doesn’t have to dominate your application landscape, and it doesn’t have to dominate your software budget. Good integration packages can provide easy configuration, standard and almost seamless installation, excellent run-time performance and operation management, and a price that won’t add significantly to the costs of deploying your software.

Flows integration software is used by software vendors to install alongside their software (essentially OEM) to take care of the integration. It’s flexible and configurable so you can leverage each installation. Re-use the configuration (connector) to your software and configurations for commonly encountered customer sites to save time and money when delivering your software. Flow is perfect to install alongside any application that has a structured data format and it sits seamlessly in the background doing the hard yards to keep data synchronised and replicated. If you are interested in partnering with us to unleash the true sales potential of your software application give us a call.

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