Editor’s note: This post on software integration cost savings was originally published in 2019 but it’s just as relevant now as it was then – or maybe even more so! We’ve made a few updates to ensure it’s as accurate and relevant as possible.
Saving on the costs of software integration is a complex topic, and your strategy must be guided by your organization’s unique requirements. But no matter what, deploying large-scale software is a costly and risky endeavour that can involve a lot of stressful decision-making. Fortunately, there are ways that you can avoid some of the risks and keep unnecessary costs to a minimum.
Here are five ways that leaders and teams that are taking on systems changes can reduce costs – not just in dollars, but in the opportunity costs and potential stressors too.
1. Optimize What You’ve Got
Whatever software solution you’re planning to deploy, start by taking a look at the rest of your tech stack. Check in with your systems administration team and make sure there are no holes in your proverbial ship. Some questions you might ask include:
- How is your hosting solution performing?
- Do you have the capacity for the development you’re planning, or do you need to add space?
- What is your uptime like and what do you need it to be?
- Are there gains in performance to be had by partitioning or any other upgrades?
Depending on your answers to the above questions, optimizing your existing environment might actually add costs in the short term. But if you’re launching new tools, it’s best to make sure that your infrastructure is ready to handle the load. If not, things could be considerably more costly in the long run.
2. Build a Bridge
If you’re attempting to replace one of your enterprise applications in favour of a more modern and user-friendly alternative, try finding a middle ground first.
Using a hybrid integration platform, you can expose legacy data through modern web service interfaces and make it available to the new software. It’s the surest way to mitigate the risk of the changeover, provide a consistent level of service with all of your existing partners and vendors, and get your new apps into your customers’ hands much faster.
3. Begin With the End in Mind
You know it’s time for a change, but to what? And how? Whether you’re going down the road of full replacement of your existing tech or looking to augment your current offering, start with a goal.
In fact, start at the end and work backward from your desired outcome. Let’s say you’re an airline who wants to provide a better end-to-end travel experience for your guests. Start from the afterglow of that experience. What was it that gave the traveler more value and offered a better experience for them? What kind of tools and features will you need to accomplish that feeling?
If you start from the most important place, the satisfaction of your end users, you’ll be better prepared to make critical decisions about what’s important in the development process. Will it delight customers? If the answer is no, don’t build it. Is it a game changer that could set you apart? If yes, roadmap it. You can spend yourself into a massive hole by developing solutions no one will use, or you can chart a course for the success you’ve already created in your mind’s eye. It sounds a little woo-woo, but it works.
4. Use Open Formats
There is an argument that can be made for using proprietary software solutions. Leaders, especially in large organizations, feel more comfortable investing their funds in costly legacy players because they believe it offers them better protection from risk.
But that is not always the case. Proprietary solutions often pose the greater risk, especially when it comes to costs. For example, you might be convinced that costly commercial solutions will offer better support, expertise, and ease of use. In actual fact, open standards tend to have greater longevity than proprietary solutions, with a larger pool of talented software engineers capable of supporting them.
The biggest players have a reputation for being bloated and you are beholden to their whims and costs. We don’t mean to suggest that it’s any grand conspiracy; it’s just the truth of the market. There is a less expensive, easier, and more secure way to build a better mousetrap. “Information wants to be free” is the famous saying, often attributed to American author Stewart Brand. In the context of the code libraries and technological functions that open source developers use every day, we wholeheartedly agree. And yes, you can create patentable technologies using open formats.
5. Make it Count
Simply creating a new technology integration is only half of the battle. If you want to help reduce the cost of it, you need to make it count. Be the driving force behind the adoption of your new tech, so your investment is not in vain.
Successful software integration should be as painless as possible for your organization and be nothing short of transformative. When full-scale adoption takes place, you can view your costs as a worthwhile investment rather than overhead. And that’s the simplest way to keep something from seeming expensive.
Ask Us About Hybrid Integration Platforms
Want to learn how you can use a middleware layer to manage the financial implications of software integration? Avato can help you bridge your legacy software into a brighter future at a fraction of the cost. Contact us for a demo today.