Open Source Software – A Cost-Benefit Analysis
For the best value in Healthcare Interface Engines, the total cost of ownership must be considered. That stands true even if license costs are free or free with limitations. While some decision-makers focus primarily on acquisition costs, those costs typically represent a small fraction of total costs. Other factors need to be evaluated as well – how easy is the interface engine to use and learn, are there productivity advantages, what are the training costs, are there additional hidden costs or deficiencies that will increase the overall cost?
Open Source Software Can End Up Being Free Like “Free Puppy” Is Free!
At PilotFish, we often get asked, “How does your Interface Engine software compare to the leading open source healthcare interface engine?” The answer is not as simple as just comparing license fees.
An open source solution is frequently not as robust or feature rich as a commercially built-out solution. The user interface may not be as polished or offer the refinements that improve usability. It can be “underpowered” – simply not as efficient or adept as required in handling the complex demands of healthcare integration. Often open source software is more like a collection of tools that the user must cobble together and sometimes pay for additionally, rather than a fully integrated development environment. Comparative cost analysis can lay bare hidden costs as well as key differences in performance that are critical to your specific needs and use cases.
What Does the Open Source Software License Actually Include?
Before you license a Healthcare Interface Engine, examine the fine print. Is annual maintenance included? Is there any product support included? Does the license include free bug fixes? Is there a vehicle for requesting product enhancements that can be added in a reasonable timeframe? Is there any particular hardware required to achieve good performance?
Hidden costs can also be found in what the free Open Source License DOES NOT INCLUDE. The competitor’s free Open Source License may not include a host of features that can quickly diminish its value.
Hidden costs also are in the opportunity costs of an underperforming system!
How Commercially Built-Out is the Open Source Interface Engine?
For nearly twenty years at PilotFish, our focus has been exclusively on integration and developing tools that support that capability. As a competitive independent commercial organization, we have spared no expense to make our product the easiest to use, fastest to learn and the quickest for configuring interfaces.
You’ll find our offering is powerful, robust and fully developed. It is not a collection of tools and widgets. It offers a fully developed Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with a graphical 7-stage Automated Interface Assembly Line. This visual IDE provides a consistent means for configuring an interface no matter how complicated or simple. The PilotFish Interface Engine requires no scripting or programming and speeds up onboarding new customers. Interface reuse is a simple as “copy, tweak and deploy.”
The PilotFish Interface Engine is full-featured. Users can adeptly handle not only large batch-oriented data and HL7 2.x messaging, but highly-conversational interactions with RESTful APIs, such as FHIR services.
- For HL7 based systems, PilotFish offers its custom “lenient” HL7 2.x parser, capable of immediately ingesting virtually any version or interpretation of an HL7 message, without wasting time in the cumbersome modeling of messages.
- For those offering lightweight RESTful APIs, our new and novel API XL architecture offers a means to encapsulate entire API-driven business processes
- For those leveraging CCDs or other complex XML formats, our template-based approach to graphical data mapping provides dramatic improvements in productivity over solutions requiring scripting, coding or drawing “spider webs” of interconnecting lines between fields.
How Extensive is the Open Source Software’s Documentation?
PilotFish has made its product documentation a top priority. PilotFish offers 1000s of pages of documentation, and these are updated with each new release. Compare this to the leading open source healthcare interface engine well-known lack of documentation.
What are the Hidden Costs in Productivity and IT Staffing of the Open Source software?
In the complex world of healthcare integration, a key driver of staff productivity revolves around the usability of the software – the degree of automation it provides and the extent to which interface reuse can be leveraged.
Your hidden costs can be assessed by determining how much more productive your team may be by utilizing PilotFish’s structured automated interface assembly line approach – which speeds up interface configuration and ensures each interface is configured the same way. By this means, PilotFish interfaces can be easily maintained -regardless of who configured them.
Compare those gains to the not-so-hidden costs of the competitor’s set of tools that leaves the structure of the interface up to each developer and for those maintaining them to figure the structure out.
PilotFish’s graphical automated interface assembly also allows you to leverage non-technical resources for 80-90% of interfacing work – freeing up the scarce higher paid developers which the competitor’s offering requires. Compare this to your resource costs of having to use developers and software engineers for all your integration work!
What Are the Differences in Training Costs with PilotFish Interface Engine vs the Open Source product?
PilotFish has developed a streamlined modular training program. This modular approach allows us to customize and provide focused training to meet a client’s specific integration requirements. It also enables us to create a customized organization-specific online Resource Center for clients with documentation and tutorials that can be utilized long after training is over – as a refresher or for new trainees.
Hidden costs can also be found in training fees. PilotFish training fees are just a fraction of what the leading Open Source interface engine charges.
PilotFish Integration Software Offers Realistic Pricing, Low-Cost Bundling Licenses and Value Added Reseller Program
Open Source software does have a place and a value. PilotFish has leveraged Open Source components in our software in order to provide a deep feature set and extraordinary value. We maintain it, we update it and make the process of taking advantage of it seamless for our customers. The difference is we offer a fully integrated platform where the whole is greater than its parts, and we enable our customers to profit from the best of both worlds. Our software is all W3C compliant, too, so you avoid the risk of vendor lock-in as you do with other interface engines. Our offering is also a platform, operating system, and database agnostic – saving you additionally on other license fees. PilotFish also offers special low-cost restricted product bundling licenses and a value-added reseller program.
The Proof is in the Use Case, Schedule Your Bake-Off Today!
In the end, whatever Healthcare Interface Engine you select, it must meet the needs of your specific use case. Bullet points and features on paper cannot determine real-world performance or applicability.
Over hundreds of implementations, PilotFish has developed and refined a methodology for the configuration, testing, and deployment of interfaces and process orchestrations. We’ve seen it all and helped clients overcome every obstacle. We have an unparalleled track record of success. Read our integration case studies.
Through Bake-Offs and Proofs of Concept (POCs), we have demonstrated the value of the PilotFish Interface Engine and integration software solutions to future customers. We can often conduct a paid Proof of Concept (POC) in as little as 2-3 days. There we can prove out how well our solution will perform for your unique requirements. We’d welcome the opportunity to demonstrate how we can help save you money and deliver superior results.