Integrated Systems Vs Separate Systems

ReportEase of Implementation (Winner: Integrated)While separate solutions for accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), etc. are easier to implement one-by-one than a integrated system, one must consider the time it takes to implement the communication between these separate solutions.For example, a business owner signs up with SalesForce, a popular CRM, and then signs up for Freshbooks, a popular accounting software for small businesses. Signing up for both of these systems takes very little time and effort. (Of course, signing up for an integrated solution takes the same amount of time.)The business owner will also take about the same amount of time and effort to load data into the separate CRM and the accounting software as he or she will take loading the information into the integrated software. (Although, some time and effort is saved with the integrate systems, since accounts and contacts need only be loaded once, compared to twice with the separate systems.)But, when the business owner tries to connect information from the CRM to the accounting software, he or she is limited in option and must use a workaround. He or she could either a)install a third party integration software, increasing the chance of a system breakdown, b)hire someone to code a new integration method, increasing the cost and effort required to implement the whole system, or c) just deal with the separate system ad hoc, which ads complexity for the entire time the business owner continues to use separate systems.On the other hand, an integrated solution is just as easy to sign up for, easier to enter information in (since you are not entering information twice), and far easier to connect information, since the system is already designed with all the data connected.Therefore, considering the Ease of Implementation for the total business solution, an integrated system is easy to implement than disconnected solution.Ease of Use (Winner: Integrated)We have found that integrated systems are, in general, easier to use than a network of disconnected business systems.Every business system, integrated or not, has different levels of usability. It is not the scope of this report to compare all these systems. Rather, we’ve found that as a whole, integrated systems are easier to use because of their integration-a key requirement for business management systems.A business owner must be able to connect documents with customers, costs with service requests, and staff with projects, just to name a few. Using one system for project management and another for accounting and another for customer relationship management (CRM) compounds the difficulty of using the total business system for the user. The user is forced to integrate outside of the system. Once this step is taken, the integration is temporary and unusable by others. In other words, every time the integration must occur in a disconnected system, it must be integrated again by each user at that moment. The integration doesn’t last and it doesn’t transfer.An integrated system is built to connect all pieces of data together in meaningful integrations. The integration is part of the system, and the user is not given the task of making the integration, it is already done. This makes the system much easier to use for information retrieval and decision making.Therefore, considering the Ease of Use for the total business system, an integrated system is easier to use than disconnected systems.Low Total Cost of Ownership (Winner: Integrated)Even given the limited amount of data we were able to find on the costs of running disconnected system versus an integrated system, it’s clear that an integrated system gives the business owner a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)Disconnected systems can run anywhere for $4/user/month to $300/user/month. Considering a business that must manage accounting, customer service, customer relationship management (CRM), support, projects, and documents, the lowest monthly cost came out to be $597/user/month (considering an office with 5-10 users).This high subscription cost for disconnected systems doesn’t consider the costs of integrating the systems to make a functional business system. Whether that integration cost is recognized by developing/paying for integration software, or paying staff for the time they spend integrating individually, the lack of integration between disparate systems raises the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) significantly.An integrated system costs much less on average ($99 /user/month considering a 5-10 user office). Plus, with an integrated system, there is no integration cost, since the system is already built integrated.Therefore, considering the Total Cost of Ownership(TCO) for the total business system, an integrated system has a lower TCO than disconnected systems.Scalability (Winner: Integrated)An integrate system scales much more gracefully than disconnected systems since an integrated systems can scale up once where disconnected systems must scale up many times.Disconnected systems have their own abilities to scale as a business grows or shrinks. Some systems can reliably support 1-20 users, others 5-50, others 25-1,000. A business owner attempting to scale up a total business system, if he or she is using disconnected systems, would have to switch different systems at different levels of scaling. Every time a switch must occur, the costs and hassles of starting up and integrated a new systems reoccur.An integrated system, however, can scale all necessary features together, with no need to switch systems at any point. An integrated system that can handle 100 users in the accounting module will be able to handle 100 users in any other module.Therefore, considering the Scalability of the total business system, and integrated system is more scalable than disconnected systems.Ease of Updates (Winner: Integrated)An integrated system is easier to upgrade than disconnected systems since disconnected systems will need to be upgraded separately, and any integration between disconnected systems will most likely be destroyed with each upgrade. Each disconnected system will have its own team of developers processing the upgrades. Since each team is only concerned about upgrading its own system, upgrades will be released on schedules that don’t consider the needs of the total business system.Also, every time a disconnected system is upgraded, any third party integrations the user has implemented will likely need to be updated as well, doubling the time and effort it takes to update the total business system.Integrated systems, on the other hand, are updated by one team. Every update enhances the integration, rather than destroying it. An update to the project management module will cause benefits to trickle down to all modules connected to it. And the integration to the modules will not need to be updated separately by a different team.Therefore, considering the Ease of Updates, an integrated system is easier to upgrade than disconnected systems.In Total (Winner: Integrated)The integrated business system meets the needs of the business better than disconnected systems.The integrated system is easier to implement, easier to use, less expensive, more scalable, and easier to update.Business Vision is an integrated online Business Management solution. Business Vision handles Project Management, Support, Human Resource Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Accounting. All features are integrated for maximum efficiency.

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