Software and its developers are nothing if not adaptable. When a gap or need is detected in the market, it’s only a brief matter of time before a new software solution appears to save the day. This is very good for businesses and consumers. But this proliferation of point solution software has given rise to another, less desirable phenomenon―the application stack.
Companies that need best-of-breed solutions are now juggling a growing collection of torches, cats, and chainsaws (lemme know if you come across a better stock image for that analogy) and they’re dealing with integration issues, data mismatches, overlapping features, UI discontinuity, and authentication issues. And then to deal with those issues, they’re adding even more software to the stack to help facilitate connections between all the disparate applications.
Business is All About Competition, and Competition is All About Having an Edge
Companies can’t be satisfied with parity, they’re driven to differentiate and gain a competitive advantage, even if it’s a small one. And this leads to an explosion of narrowly focused solutions that are extremely good at what they do, but often operate at arm’s length from one another.
It’s clear that software solution spaces are fragmenting much more quickly than they are consolidating. What’s not entirely clear yet is how companies will deal with application stacks containing dozens of unique applications that are expected to play nicely with one another.
Managing Application Stacks is Becoming a Specialized Art Itself
In recent years Operations job titles have appeared in nearly every business function: Sales Ops, Dev Ops, Marketing Ops, IT Ops, Support Ops, etc. This trend reflects the increasingly specialized technical burden that is the cost of gaining a competitive advantage via best-in-class point solutions.
As the cost and complexity of managing application stacks continue to rise, the debate over the virtues of point solutions, platforms, integrated or monolithic solutions has never been more relevant.
I can’t tell you which strategy is best because I think the answer is: “it depends.” But, I can tell you about Windward’s approach to the problem.
1. Windward’s .NET and Java Engines are designed to be embedded in most applications by copy/pasting a few lines of code. This approach affords developers the best of both worlds. It provides a best-in-class point solution that can be integrated into an existing application in hours as opposed to building functionality that would otherwise take months or longer.
2. Windward also offers a RESTful Engine that can be called when an external integration is preferred. Again, this provides a fully integrated best-in-class document generation solution in a super cost-effective package.
3. Windward’s template design environment provides unmatched free-form design capabilities and familiar user-friendly tools. That’s due to the fact that Windward AutoTag is offered as an add-on to the ubiquitous Microsoft Word and Excel. Why reinvent the wheel, right? You get all the familiar design power of Word and Excel with the ability to create data-powered document generation templates.
Windward will continue to offer cost-effective best-in-class document generation solutions in a variety of formats and configurations because―”it depends.”