“Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water”
Reshelling simply means building a new interface over an existing back end, which is a cost-effective way to make serious efficiency gains, and has become one of our specialities.
Understanding interfaces & backends
Almost everything you do on a computer involves using an interface to talk to a back end. For example Excel is an interface for editing a spreadsheet (the backend) but you could use a number of others, like XmlGrid.
Likewise most business applications, whether accessed via a browser or installed on your PC, are just interfaces that talk to a backend (usually a database) which you could also talk to from a number of different interfaces.
Why this matters
Interfaces dictate how fast you can work.
If the default interface makes a given task very time consuming, then it may be worth paying for a bespoke interface.
Many of our smaller developments are very basic application which just provide a better interface for one or more tasks (like collating PDF files, globally updating records in a database, or uploading files to web sites). Yet prove very successful, paying themselves back within a few months or even weeks.
Choose how far you take it
Adding features to old systems via external tools is not ideal, and only happens because we are often able to build the functionality for less than it would cost to build the feature in the actual system.
Replacing a system altogether is typically very expensive and disruptive. However, revamping the full interface to a system without changing the back end is a very viable option.
The advantages are obvious:
- Fraction of the cost, time and disruption of building a new system.
- Existing reports/scheduled tasks/third party integrations are unaffected.
- Old system acts available as fallback, allowing transfer to be phased and acting as a saftey net.
Of course, this is only worthwhile if the new interface is considerably slicker than the old one. That’s where our expertise in designing interfaces specifically designed to let people work faster comes into it’s own.