By Henning Lund - July 25, 2018
Almost all the people that I'm providing data integration advice to ask the same question: Should I ask a developer to build my own batch scheduled data transfer, or should I benefit from a ready to use standard interface platform? Many companies are worried about their customizations and running costs. In many cases an initial evaluation will show that a custom development has a higher initial cost but lower maintenance cost, but in reality the actual maintenance costs cannot be included at all in that initial evaluation, simply because it is difficult to predict what changes you will need to perform in the future. Moreover, custom-developed transfers include none or very little additional functionality within scheduling, error handling, monitoring etc. You have to remember that thousands of man hours have been invested in making data integration platforms fast, user friendly, robust and anyone who has ever tried to maintain a custom-built interface dreams of a more thought-through way of dealing with data integration between systems. And it's amazing how mature the data integration platforms have become – some can even be implemented in 3-10 days, everything included.
Many consider data integration platforms as an expensive option. I think that it comes right from the early days of data integration tools and ETL (Extract, Transform and Load). The first generation of ETL tools were simple but quite expensive code generators with limited functionality. At that time, it was way more effective for companies to develop their own custom integration code. But things have changed since and data integration tools have developed to include development, operational processing and integration functionality. And, as for the price, many data integration providers offer today very attractively priced solutions that can suit the needs of smaller organizations or large enterprises.
If we look away from the pricing discussion for a second, what are the true benefits of using a data integration platform such as the RapidiOnline solution? Many companies wishing to integrate two (or more) systems have common ways of working and therefore similar requirements. To meet these type of requirements, integration tools can include a number of pre-configured integration points. For example, the RapidiOnline integration for Salesforce comes with out-of-the-box, preconfigured end points for Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV and GP. These types of templates help you:
Data integration platforms have evolved considerably in the past few years and most of the time, they are the most reasonable approach to systems integration. If you would like to get all the details about the topic, I’d recommend you read our data integration handbook, where we have gathered some useful tips to guide you through a smooth data integration project.
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