Customer Portal customer-icon
29 November 2018

Point Solution or Integrated Solution | Four different perspectives

In my previous blog, I explained the most important differences between Point Solutions and Integrated Solutions for Facility and Real Estate Management. However, different challenges need different solutions. In this blog I will elaborate on four different perspectives, which will help you to choose the typology that suits your long term goals and reduces the risk of failure during implementation and operation.

White Paper - Point Solution or Integrated Solution, what makes the difference?

A point solution can be software just for helpdesk functions while an integrated solution can handle helpdesk and much more. Learn why that's important.

Learn more

1. The FM and RE Business Perspective

Transparency in processes, workflow control, quality monitoring, service level agreements, compliant reporting, financial forecasting and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have become accepted best practices in any professional FM and RE organisation. All these best practices have one important element in common: they are cross-functional and exceed traditional departmental boundaries and disciplines.

If these are supported using one Integrated Solution, all the stakeholders are connected in one automated workflow, all with access to the same consistent data. The process can be continuously monitored and potential deviations can be alerted in time. In the case of multiple Point Solutions, each step of the process will need manual or automated data exchange with another Point Solution, increasing processing time and risk of failure. Also, it will hardly be possible to monitor and control the entire process when it is fragmented across multiple Point Solutions.

2. The End User Perspective

A key prerequisite for any successful software implementation is end user acceptance. People need to find their way easily through the system and the software solution needs to help them in their daily work. Many departments might have implemented their bespoke and fragmented Point Solutions in the past and end users have learned to find their way; they have become true specialists and product advocates. Indeed, this is a benefit of Point Solutions, but a very limited one. The more specialised these Point Solutions are, the more resistant end users and departments are to new solution implementations or organisational change. Logical, as people traditionally tend to stick to known systems and procedures.

Integrated Solutions have a more generic approach towards end users. Once people understand the user interaction, they can apply that knowledge to all processes within the software. The solution operates in a consistent and recognisable way. 

Point Solution or Integrated Solution, what makes the difference?

3. The IT perspective

In general, IT departments prefer to reduce the number of installed software solutions. As each individual software solution has its own specific IT requirements, release policies and support windows, it is obvious that IT departments prefer the concept of one Integrated Solution. In many projects, the business case for implementing an Integrated FM and RE Solution is even based on reducing existing Point Solutions and the associated costs.

As Integrated Solutions use one single source of information, complex data interfaces are not necessary. Having one database for all FM-RE information dramatically eases the maintenance of data, ensures consistency and data quality and supports better reporting and more extensive analysis. The concept of one Integrated Solution also allows easier cloud deployment and avoids complex installations of updates and new software releases. Having one single point of contact for support and one vendor agreement for licence extension or change also contributes to long term continuity for your business and a maximised Return on Investment (ROI).

4. The Benefits and Investment Perspective

For many organisations, quantifying software benefits in terms of money, resource and time savings or quality, agility and compliance improvements is an exhausting exercise. Business case practice shows that identifying the benefits of an Integrated Solution is easier and more obvious compared to Point Solutions. By nature, Integrated Solutions deliver more transparency, more control and more reliable information.

But what about investment? The price of one specific Point Solution is apparently lower compared to a complete Integrated Solution.  However, as most Integrated Solutions offer modular setups, this price difference reduces somewhat when only the applicable processes are compared.

Recommendations

If there is only one fragmented problem to solve, a Point Solution is clearly a very good way to move forward quickly. In many cases, Point Solutions have proven their value because they champion one specific area.

Whenever more processes are in scope, an Integrated Solution beats a series of combined Point Solutions from all perspectives: more transparency, more control and more information. All for less money and effort.

Jos Knops
Director Global Product Marketing