One size doesn’t fit all. Keep control of your business

Published October 4, 2017

There’s a reasonable argument to be made for keeping everything in one place. We do it with our telephone, internet, and TV. We do it with our gas and electricity. But, while it works great at a personal level for a few utilities, it doesn’t always work when your business depends on it.

False efficiency

The big selling point of using one system to rule them all is that it keeps things simple. But, does it?

If you have to provide extra training, use tools that are unfamiliar, and put up with missing features or having to work around the way a tool works, are you really saving any time?

Don’t re-invent the wheel

In an ideal world you’d have something made just for you. But, this is hugely expensive, and means you’re stuck with something you have to look after for years to come.

But there are tools out there that already do the job you need to do.

Pick and mix

It’s quite simple: just use the tools you want to use, and get them to work together.

Huge numbers of tools will already work together by connecting their APIs. For many that can’t out of the box, using a tool like Zapier will join the dots.

And where you can’t find a tool to do it, there’s now plenty of ways to connect products together without having to run a servers or maintain software updates.

All your favourites

You might have a preferred billing system that your accounting team like, such as Xero or QuickBooks. But your payments are processed through another system for your online shop.

The chances are that all of your favourite tools have APIs. This lets you connect them to each other and make sure you’re in control of what’s going on (without manually having to update anything).

Pay for what you need

Amazon Web Services (AWS) have a tool called Lambda. It’s a server-less computing platform. You don’t pay for a server, you just pay to run a script on their servers.

The scripts are easy for most developers to create, and once it’s setup it doesn’t need updating. Amazon do all the hard work for you.

You can have you script setup to run at a time of day, or on a command. For example, if a sale comes in and you want to send it to your account software, it can run that on a trigger.

If a customer gives you information from a form or booking, but you need their data to go to the CRM, a Lambda function can bridge that gap.

The best bit? It cost pennies to run.

Creating the script itself it’s also a lot cheaper. There’s no design or interface, it works in the background. It’s easy to test, and can be easily written and read by a huge number of developers – no special training required beyond being able to login to AWS.

Avoid the headache

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to keep everything in once place because it seems easier. But don’t try and re-invent the wheel by building the perfect solution yourself.

Use what’s already out there, and connect them together. It’s going to be much cheaper and more reliable. Who doesn’t love that?