There was a time perhaps when your office might have been one of the most innovative of its time - having the best IT system that made your business processes computerized, automated and efficient. These certainly gave you an edge over your competitors. However, nothing is forever - especially in the world of technology.
Now, the landscape of doing business has changed. Customers have new devices that your systems are not designed to interact with and your company has added other software tools as the need for different software platforms arose and now you are thinking about adopting Cloud systems.
With all these different IT tools being used, the process is now fragmented and inefficient so you think about integration between the various tools you're working with. But what can integration do for you?
1. Save time in dealing with multiple platforms and software
Having several software usually bring the problem of having to switch from one platform to another to perform a certain business process. This happens primarily because there is no link between the platforms, the data format produced by one platform cannot be read by another or even because they are in different devices.
Application integration will allow a link to be established between two or more platforms and convert or "translate" them into data that can be read by the other platforms that are meant to be integrated. One example would be integrating your Customer Relationship management (CRM) system with your E-commerce and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system so you can easily manage customers, their orders and how better you can sell to them.
2. Save money as an alternative to getting a complete enterprise solution
Not many companies can afford complete enterprise IT solutions offered by heavyweights such as IBM and Oracle. So, for many businesses, the right option would be to buy invididual solutions that have a specific scope. So, to be able to achieve the similar feel of a complete enterprise solution, one alternative is to integrate the invidual platforms that they have. Even with this, the costs are still far lower than obtaining a full enterprise solution. (read: Tips for Implementing Application Integration)
Open Source Advantages
Among the choices for integration solutions, there are Open Source alternatives. The nature of Open Source brings its own advantages that other non-Open Source software don't enjoy.
1. Publicised Source Code
The main advantage of Open Source integration solutions (which hold true for all Open Source forms of ERPs, CRM, Business Intelligence platforms etc.) is that its source code is public. When you choose an integrator to implement your solution for you, more often than not, there will be changes that need to be done to the platform itself to make your integration solution work. If you chose a closed source or proprietary integration solution then this will not be possible.
But with Open Source, the developers can simply alter the code and make the solution work. In the proprietary world, developers will have to wait for the software house to come up with a patch to address the issue.
2. Open Source Community
Around the any Open Source platform, there is a community of developers that constantly scrutinize the source code of the platform and regularly propose updates and new features. They also provide technical support to each other making the development process for your integration solution easier for your solution provider.
While it may seem that Open Source only benefits the solution provider, this is not the case at all. Imagine the case of choosing between a proprietary software and an Open Source software. The former, with its source code closed, is only maintained by a handful of developers within a software house. The latter choice however, has thousands of developers that keep a close eye on the code, with benefits related to its quality, and can generate improvements faster. The choice is clear.
Yesterday's innovations are today's legacy systems. Perhaps you too can also benefit from an integrated solution?
The main innovations from Digital Transformation are derived from the work of the global Open Source community. We have gathered these key trends you should familiarize with for 2017 in our FREE ebook: "2017 IT Trends: Digital Transformation"