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Closed vs. open platform: The call of the open road


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One of the most overlooked criteria when shopping for business software is how it’s written — on an open platform or closed platform.

Oddly enough, many users fail to check that box and still look only for basic functionality before choosing an app — a mistake that can quickly become problematic when growing companies find themselves stifled by closed systems.

What does the term “open platform” mean?

In general, open platforms are built with an open and documented API and tools that allow you to personalize the system. As such, they’re designed to be available for a wider spectrum of uses. They enable more flexibility, more creativity and easier integration, without calling for a (sometimes expensive) developer to step in and try to increase the functionality of their systems.

Further, because open systems are so much less proprietary, users often find it's easy to find advice and instruction when it comes to changes and additions.

“Sometimes it seems as if as soon as you make the effort to implement a new technology, it’s outdated six months after installation,” notes Michael Lukich on Salesforce.com. “Open platforms offer much more flexibility to these changes and make your experience (somewhat more) future-resistant. Upgrades are much easier and allow you to keep as up-to-date as you like … and open platforms give end-users the capability to engage with an established community of users, vendors and partners.”

Challenges of closed platforms

Conversely, closed platforms can only be altered with the help of a developer with proprietary tools, and even then the options for alterations tend to be very limited. That can be challenging from a cost and convenience standpoint.

In addition to paying license and maintenance fees, companies using closed systems must employ developers to take care of support functions and updates, and new features often can’t be added without the purchase of more advanced software versions. That leaves the user largely at the mercy of the maker of the platform, which may end production of further iterations at any time.

Making a choice? It’s best to be open-minded

The preferred path is to develop an application on an open platform, where multiple applications can live on one platform, optimize one database and share platform services. In this rapidly evolving business world, there’s no way a single developer can create an application that can do everything for everybody. That means companies must empower themselves with the ability to add — on demand, without unnecessary expense — the essential tools that will allow them to grow.

An open platform-based stack provides developers with a rich environment in which they need not create or manage every aspect of the application. Commonly included features include enhanced security; user-friendly interfaces; complete reporting, auditing and replication; easy access to databases and easy mobile deployment. And because all apps on a closed platform tend to look and act alike, the learning curve for getting up to speed on them is often reduced.

The ground floor for Gravity is Microsoft Power Platform

For ultimate convenience, Gravity Software® has been developed on the Microsoft Power Platform (aka Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM), an open and robust platform allowing you to gather and use the modules most helpful to your business. You may opt for an accounting app from Gravity Software, a sales app from Microsoft and a time and billing app from a third party if that’s the combination that works best for your organization.

More than just a cloud-based accounting app, Gravity provides you with a suite of key functions aimed at helping your business become more efficient. Do your due diligence and schedule your online demo today! Just say GO!

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