Do your apps Interface or Integrate? Big difference.

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Do your apps Interface or Integrate? Big difference.

Ok, so I give up. Having fought a vain battle against Cloud-washing, I accept now this was a futile attempt to delay the inevitable. I foolishly tried to maintain that the term ‘Cloud’ had something to do with multi-tenancy, open standards, economies of power consumption and scalability. However, I’ve realized the error of my ways and will join the crowd where ‘Cloud’ is now the universally accepted term to mean “something to do with that internet thingy.”

While I give up on that battle, however, I’m going to make a stand and join Naomi Bloom to see if we can raise awareness on what I’m calling “Integration Washing.” As Naomi eloquently describes in her blog, I also remember the days when we talked about the difference between Interfaced and Integrated and we could have a sensible conversation appreciating that while the former can be very useful and you see a lot of it; it’s the latter, while much harder to build, that brings much greater business benefit if you achieve it. So lets quickly recap:

Interfaced is a flow of data between systems or applications where the applications themselves are effectively unaffected. They know how to send and receive data but otherwise they act independently of each other.

Integrated is a much more complex arrangement where object model and architecture are combined to create a unified user experience combining data, reporting and workflows via a consistent user interface.

So before we all forget this fundamental difference, can we please stop and raise our hands when someone describes an integrated system as being something to do with moving data between systems? Or we’ll all be wondering why these “apps integrated with my CRM” provide a disjointed, unconnected, siloed view of data for both your own employees and your customers.

The real benefits of truly integrated systems happen when you are sharing data, user interface, analytics and workflows across a single business platform.

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