Embedded vs. Integrated Solutions

FieldConnect has worked closely with our software partners, leveraging our 17 years of experience with these systems, to embed field service into the back office financial management system. Actions that occur in the field are written directly into the back office database – no secondary database, no other intermediary and no synching required. 

These days, as organizations work toward a unified software environment, the word “integrated” is used a lot. Integration methods vary widely and have evolved significantly over the years. Initial integration efforts were driven by the need to connect a few large, on-premise systems. These systems were large and expensive, affordable only to Global 1000-type companies. These days, companies of all sizes have substantially broader choices for their software applications, at much lower costs. Integration, however, can still be a challenge, even though the move to more SaaS applications has started to address some of these challenges. 

A word that is not used as much in these scenarios is “embedded.” That is because while integration represents one level of connectivity, embedded is a much deeper connection. Two solutions can be integrated so that they communicate with each other at some level. When these two solutions are embedded, they are no longer two solutions connected together but act more as one solution that interoperates seamlessly. 

The World of Field Service Management

This is an important distinction in the world of field service management, and one where FieldConnect distinguishes itself. Levels of integration vary widely, depending on how well software vendors and their development resources have worked together. While some integrations fulfill their objectives, the worst-case scenario for integration involves an intermittent connection, sometimes referred to as “synching,” to achieve their goal. Where the objective is to have seamless integration between field-based capabilities and back-office systems, synching does not fulfill that objective. 

Now that smartphones are so common, most of us are familiar with synching scenarios. This is the process of downloading the latest operating system, or application, or game. Or perhaps the way that we move data from an old phone to a new one. More than a few of these synching scenarios go sideways, resulting in an incomplete download, a loss of data, or data being reorganized in a way that requires additional effort to get it all in the right place. The causes can be many – loss of a connection, software version incompatibility, or inexplicable glitches caused by disruptions in the synching process. 

FieldConnect has worked closely with our software partners, leveraging our 17 years of experience with these systems, to embed field service into the back office financial management system. Actions that occur in the field are written directly into the back office database – no secondary database, no other intermediary and no synching required. 

So, as you evaluate potential field service solutions, be cognizant of the fact that “integration” is a spectrum of connectivity that has the potential to negatively impact your ability to effectively link field mobility applications with back office systems. If you choose an “embedded” solution, you can be confident that the two systems will work as one harmonious approach to delivering the results that you expect from implementing these enabling technologies.