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December 22, 2016

Point Solutions or Integrated Solution - Important differences

Many organizations are recognizing the growing need for a software solution for Facility and Real Estate Management. However, when it comes to choosing the right solution, there are so many options, which can make the process of selecting one challenging. So, what actually makes these software solutions different from each other? Moreover, what differentiators are relevant to your specific choice?

White Paper - Point Solutions or Integrated Solution: Important Differences

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.

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The business case for FM and RE software solutions is usually founded on themes like portfolio transparency, control, processing efficiency, cost reduction, organizational agility, customer value, and compliance. However, not all software is equal, and sometimes projects do not deliver those planned results. Reasons for failure can be very diverse but typically include some similarities: gaps between expectations and realization, underestimating the effort needed during implementation and change management, and unexpected complexity in IT requirements, technology, and operations.

What makes the difference?

The range of software available – and the many different labels applied to them, including IWMS, CAFM, or CMMS – can make the process confusing. What actually makes these software solutions different from each other? One important differentiator to look for is the solution classification: point solution or integrated solution. Both have their specific strengths and weaknesses.

Point Solution: strengths and weaknesses

Point solutions are typically designed to solve one specific business problem. Due to this specialization and focus, point solutions are champions in their specific area of functionality: for example, room-booking software, helpdesk software, space management software, or maintenance planning software.

The strength of a point solution is also its weakness: the software only solves one business problem. That means in order to solve multiple problems, multiple point solutions will need to be selected and implemented. Common data needs to be shared between these point solutions, creating complexity, potential inconsistency and risk.

An integrated solution, by definition, does not have this weakness. 

Point Solutions or Integrated Solution - Important differences

Integrated Solution: strengths and weaknesses

Integrated solutions are designed to solve multiple FM and RE business problems from within one software solution that is based on a single database. An integrated solution allows you to purchase and implement just one software solution, ensures that data is stored consistently and only once, supports ‒ by default ‒ the connections between processes, and facilitates reporting across these processes. An integrated solution typically supports multiple processes within real estate, space and workplace, maintenance, and facility management as well as sustainability. Because an integrated solution covers multiple processes, it may not have the same variety of features that a point solution would have for a single issue.

How to make the right decision

This is just one differentiator to take into account when looking at real estate and facility management software. In order to determine the solution your organization needs, simply knowing the differences between a Point Solution and an Integrated Solution is not enough. In my next blog I will elaborate on four different perspectives, which help you to choose the typology that suits your long term goals and reduces the risks of failure during implementation and operation.

Jos Knops
Director Global Product Marketing