Friday, August 20, 2010

Value of Embedding Agile Integration Software (AIS) in Software Products

Is there a software product on the planet that doesn't need to integrate with other data and applications? Well, OK, I downloaded a cool iPhone app that acts as a carpenter's level all by itself. But I can't think of a standalone business application that doesn't need to connect to anything else.

While they all may appear to be the same to a casual observer, in my book there are four types of software product companies:

The 1st Type:

Those that use code bases as a starting point for custom programming services projects. These really are poseurs, pretending to have products, enticing customers, and consuming huge amounts of service dollars. Integration with other systems is the majority of their gravy. There's no point in discussing the value of AIS to this first category; their business model is based on hourly services, so reducing the time to integrate by 60-90 percent would be a curse.

The 2nd Type:

Those with off-the-shelf products that leave the integration to the customer.

  • These products usually operate against a database that the customer is responsible to populate and maintain.
  • These companies lose sales because the customer does not want to undertake the time and cost of developing and maintaining the necessary integration.

Value of Agile Integration Software:

  • Eliminate the imperative of a staging database and take advantage of read using live data and write-backs to customers' existing applications.
  • Increase the percentage of sales closed by greatly reducing the integration effort.

The 3rd Type:

Those that have off-the-shelf products but still count on their integration services as a welcome and important revenue stream.

Value of using Agile Integration Software for your projects:

  • Reduce the risk associated with the inevitable unknowns of integration projects.
  • Fixed bid projects can be offered with lower risk and high margins.
  • Where staging databases are used, the product can enter a new realm of interactivity.
  • Competitive advantage with expanded capabilities and lower total cost of implementation.

The 4th Type:

Those that have off-the-shelf products that embed or package with an agile integration software (AIS). These companies are already reaping the benefits of agile integration and are becoming the leaders in their domains.

Benefits these companies are getting from Agile Integration Software:

  • Reduced overall cost to implement their products.
  • You can focus more on your own product and domain expertise, and not have to invent other ways to integrate with customer's systems.
  • Reduce the risks associated with integration.
  • Fixed bid projects can be offered with lower risk and high margins.
  • Eliminate the overhead of staging databases.
  • Re-brand to your own name so there is no need to also sell a third party integration tool.
  • Expand the scope and value of their products by enabling information/data sharing back to customers' systems.

Now that Agile Integration Software really does exist, you owe it to your shareholders to look into the bottom line benefits that it can bring to your business. We are seeing rapidly growing adoption of this paradigm, and we are seeing these companies reap the advantage. Maybe they'll make the sale you can't because of the painful integration your implementation requires.

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