Small business owners are quite rightly always looking for new ways in which to save their money. Anyone who works on a freelance or self-employed basis will know that anything which wastes their time ultimately also ends up costing them money as well.
With the increased popularity of the Cloud, more and more businesses and individuals are signing up to online software application offerings and then paying monthly to access them on a subscription basis. This often works out cheaper than buying a boxed product.
Many of the most popular software offerings provide a very limited form of integration with each other through API that allows them to speak to each other.
For example, you might well be an existing user of a cloud accounting software application in need of some invoicing software. When you sign up to a cloud invoicing solution that is integrated you will probably then have to enter the details of your accounting software login somewhere so that they can interact and share data such as contacts and addresses.
The problems start when you realise that you have many different subscriptions for various aspects of your business software requirements and they are all being offered to you at a premium. That is understandable when you consider that each of the software providers has their own business to maintain – premises, wages, development costs and the cloud infrastructure itself.
So now your business is suddenly paying out separately every month for various cloud offerings with limited connectivity – perhaps accounting, invoicing, data storage, project management and CRM – not the ideal situation for any small business owner on a limited budget.
But the cost is not even the biggest problem for anyone who finds themselves in this scenario. There’s no guarantee that any of it will be able to integrate in any meaningful way, and even if it does then the user experience might be less than ideal.
Imagine the following scenario: your accounting software provider updates their product and an unintended knock-on effect of the update means that the invoicing software can no longer communicate with it. It isn’t the responsibility of the accounting software provider to fix it – in fact, they probably can’t – as the problem is on the other end with the outdated API.
Now you have to wait for the invoicing software developer to get around to making these updates before you can pull any data from your accounting software. How quickly this gets done will all depend on how much of a priority it is considered by the developer and whether they have resources available to do it.
Some developers will be able to get this turned around and push out a quick fix within a day. But for others it could be weeks or even longer, especially if API integration is not particularly important to them. They may even decide to pull their integration altogether.
Consider how much time you would have to waste chasing up your invoicing software provider in search of a fix and also doing all of the double entry of data in the meantime and remember that your time is money.
If you want to avoid this situation altogether, you will need a solution which has been integrated from the ground up from a provider that can pass their infrastructure savings onto clients.