Which is Better: Many Specialized Software or a Single Integrated Software?

Where would you prefer to go shopping – a one-stop-shop from where you can buy almost everything you are looking for or specialized stores that sell a particular brand only? The same logic will apply to the software also. In fact, there’s a lot more at stake when it comes to project management software which is integrated with other modules of your business process. There are advantages and disadvantages of using integrated software and specialized software modules separately for each purpose. Cost and ease of use are the major aspects to consider while there are many other interesting and important aspects other than these two. Let us consider the advantages and disadvantages of both options:

Integrated Software

These are like ERPs or Enterprise solutions that work as a single unit even though it is divided into smaller modules that are sometimes dependent on each other to provide the user some meaningful reports and analytics. Typically, the integrated software would consist of accounting, payroll, CRM, sales/invoicing, purchase/order processing, warehousing, budgeting, and management reports which share some data among the various modules. The employees created in the payroll are accessed by the other modules, the accounting heads are accessed by various modules, the customer created in CRM is accessed by the Sales module, and the vendor is accessed by the purchase module. The management reports access all these data and summarize the various transactions and also report the relations they have with each other.

Advantages of Integrated Software

  • A single installation which runs across the organization over an intranet or the internet.
  • One time data entry since the data is shared among the various modules.
  • Provides important data analytics and relationship reports to the management.
  • No need to switch between various software that gives data in different formats
  • It is difficult to customize specific modules as it might affect some other connected modules
  • Easier to manage when you have a change in the business flow

Disadvantages of Integrated Software

 Specialized Software

Smaller companies can take advantage of specialized software to avoid the high cost involved in acquiring integrated software. If your company needs to digitize only billing and accounting, you can as well get separate software for accounting and billing which will cost you much lesser than the integrated software which will come with many other modules which have no relevance to your company.

Advantages of Specialized Software

  • Comprehensive and specialized solutions for specific modules. For example, the accounting software will have advanced options for accounting.
  • Can be managed individually without affecting the other modules and processes
  • More scope for Customization as it does not affect other modules
  • Individual modules are less expensive than the integrated software
  • Data is more secure since it is local to a process or a department
  • Install only those modules you require instead of an entire software which will have some futile modules for your organization

 Disadvantages of Specialized Software

  • Multiple entries required for each process to get the required management reports
  • Each module may report in a different format which may not be compatible with the others for summarizing and comparison
  • Even if individual modules are cheaper, if you try to install separate software for each process, the total cost will definitely exceed that of integrated software.

It is cumbersome to try and consolidate different reports in different formats and trying to find the relationship among them when we are using specialized software for the different business processes. In spite of the few disadvantages, most of the businesses find it more convenient to manage single integrated software to manage their projects instead of specialized software for different aspects of project management. They work together best and provide the management some important analytics they can use for the decision-making processes. Using integrated software, with a few button clicks, the management can get to know how their organization is functioning comprehensively.

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About kamn

I am freelance web designer and developer with a passion for interaction design. I love communication, creativity, technology and everything in between.

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