If you've ever tried doing your own plumbing, you know what a nightmare it can be. There are so many kinds of pipes, sizes, connectors, sealants and materials that it's literally mind-boggling. And here's the best part; if you don't pair just the right materials you get leaks. Leaks that destroy your home. Leaks that drive you crazy trying to fix.
Fixing your plumbing can be a lot like trying to get different software systems to work together. There are so many kinds of software from so many different providers and just like plumbing, they don't all work together. There is no universal connector.
If you try to force connections between software programs that aren't compatible you either get nothing at all or you get leaks - data where it doesn't belong or only parts of the data you need. It's frustrating, incredibly time consuming and ridiculously complicated.
Unfortunately, as is the case with both software and plumbing, there are plenty of individuals out there who are more than happy to build you a "custom" solution. "Custom" generally means that you're trying to use things in ways they're not intended to be used and tends to be code for expensive, time consuming and brittle (meaning that it breaks a lot and can't be changed very easily if something goes wrong).
So what's the fix?
Returning to the plumbing analogy, it's no surprise that along with the hundreds of pieces and parts, you'll find entire kits that include all the parts that are designed to work together. You may end up replacing more of your plumbing than you'd originally planned to, but when you use the entire kit, viola! it suddenly works properly and without any leaks. An additional benefit to replacing the entire system is that you take advantage of the latest materials vs the ancient materials you may be trying to force-fit your solution to.
It's the same with software. You may wind up replacing more systems than you'd originally planned, but if you buy one management system that has all the components you need, viola! everything suddenly works properly and all of your systems are now operating with the latest (aka most efficient) code, user interface, etc. Your data transfers between systems correctly and you can even automate most of those transfers.
Or... you can continue to beat your head against the wall trying to make connections work between disparate systems that aren't designed to work together.
If you've ever done your own plumbing, take a lesson from it. Get the package. Don't try to "Frankenstein" your own solution. It will consume untold hours of your life, cause you no end of frustration and you'll still end up with leaks.
If you're looking for a comprehensive, integrated solution take a look at Advantage's AQUA agency management software. It combines Accounting, Project Management and Media all into one incredibly powerful and totally integrated software that allows you to automate many repetitive tasks and reduce the prevalence of bad data in the system caused by human error.
Request a free demo by clicking the link below. It's quick, online and easy.