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Beware These 3 Hidden Data Integration Software Costs That Can Bite You in the Budget

The majority of integration vendors sell Eclipse-based platforms (and I’ve previously written about why you should rather eat hot coals than use an Eclipse-based platform). For those of you to whom that means nothing, the translation is that most integration software solutions are meant to be used by those who possess godlike coding powers. These specific custom-coded solutions can carry hidden costs in their upkeep and maintenance, a lesson most companies learn the hard way — after it’s too late to consider alternative measures.

Here are 3 hidden costs associated with legacy data integration software that can sneak up on you and bite you in the budget…and the butt:

1. You’ll Have To Pay For A Development Team

To effectively manage data integration tasks using platforms that require custom-coding, you have to invest in an engineering or development team. Just to put some numbers here, the average financial cost of hiring one engineer is about $120,000 a year. If you have a large organization, you might need a team of engineers, as well as a program manager. The average salary of one program manager is about $170,000 per year.

Just based on these numbers, you might be thinking, “Well, I’ll just use my existing IT resources to manage new data integration software processes.” Sure, you could do that. But it would mean pulling resources away from working on high-value strategic tasks to create basic integration solutions.

2. Creating Custom Code

With traditional integration software, custom code that coincides with your business offering is generally required. Like a foreign language, this code often lacks transparency except to those who originally created it. Even if there were copious notes taken about how the code was written, only developers would be able to manage the needed upkeep. Again, this pushes you to hire an engineer, a headcount that may or may not have been in your budget.

I also want to point out that the amount of time needed to edit code is enormous. This process could take weeks; you have to recompile and test the code while maintaining original business functionality. The average annual cost associated with developing custom code is about $100,000 – which includes writing, testing, and deployment time.

This is just the beginning. There are other long-term costs associated with custom code:

  • If the original developer leaves the company
  • Upkeeping and updating the code
  • Training new engineers on the original solutions
3. Leveraging Open Source Tools

In addition, custom coding just can’t keep up with the changing demands of business. Because of this, more businesses rely on open source tools that — while more affordable — don’t always address business requirements in time. We aren’t saying solutions implemented on an open source Eclipse development platform are bad, but solutions like these can lack the security, privacy, and reliability that today’s businesses need.

So if you’ve got an integration initiative going on in your company, I hope you’ll think twice before investing in solutions that require pulling technical resources away from their strategic mission to create custom code. As always, I’m interested in your thoughts.