Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Out of Box cross product integrations

I have been working on application integration since the day one I started my career in enterprise apps development. It is really an interesting topic.

On one hand, we would like to ship the integration out of box, so the customer can buy the individual products, as well as, "buy" the integration solution.

On the other hand, we may also not want to enable integration out of box and assume all customers are using all products.

If the product is reflecting the best practice and would like demonstrate the best way to utilize the product, we may want to build and ship the integrated solution.

What is the guiding principles?

I think that the targets should be

  • Provide the solution - We should not expect the solution is a customization just because it is hard to deliver the solution.
  • Make the solution OOTB as an option- It is a product the customer can purchase, but do not assume that everyone has it
  • Easy to disable and enable it - We also need to document how to enable or disable it.

Also, pre-packaged apps is designed based on the majority of the customers who are the targets of the products. If most customers are looking for the OOTB solution, we can ship the enabled integration and let the customer to disable it. If most of customers are not yet ready for an integrated solution, we can disable it in the OOTB solution and let the customers to enable it.
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