We get it. Your customers have already paid a lot for the security applications they need to protect their people and property. Asking them to hand over more money to make those applications work in harmony feels like pushing it.
So, sometimes it seems to make more sense to just do a cursory integration that is simple and cheap.
We recommend against taking this path of least resistance to avoid broken links and unhappy customers.
Here’s how we define integration done right.
Created by an SDK expert with understanding of system relationships
There is a special expertise needed to understand the relationship between connected systems. Navigating data and SDKs across multiple systems is something that requires a kind of logic savant. Alternatively, many integrations are developed by a specific manufacturer’s in-house engineering team (PACs, video, etc.). This is not always a bad thing but, usually, each manufacturer is an expert in their specific solution and not necessarily in how that solution integrates with others. Sometimes the integration will be good, sometimes it won’t.
There is version management oversight across applications
More than any other reason, this will be the one that causes the biggest headache. With each manufacturer releasing new versions several times each year, who will be responsible for ensuring nothing breaks in the integration? It is so important to entrust version management to one company who will be responsible for the links between the applications and who has the unique proficiency needed to ensure that, when one application upgrades to a new version, it doesn’t break everything connected to it.
There are a significant # of shared features between applications
No business should settle for less than 'it works just the way we want it to'. That means every possible feature that can be brought over as one connected system should be. The closer to single system management, the better for all. Even if your customer asks for two features, more is better and more is what your customers will eventually want.
Most functions are managed through a single interface
When you bring over as many features from multiple connected systems, it is essential that you can manage them as seamlessly as possible through one interface. In a light integration, your customers will find themselves still adding info in one application, then toggling over to the next application to add different info, etc. Not very efficient and vulnerable to data entry errors.
Time well spent
Developing a tightly integrated system the right way can take more time than doing a “light” integration where a manufacturer might be able to factor the work into their current development cycle. But, version management, minimized toggling between applications, and significant number of shared features makes any additional time well spent.
What has your experience been?