Systems Thinking at Orderful

5min read


Case Study

We are always thinking about our solution as a system

As a software product, it’s imperative that we solve the EDI integration problem through automation.

For those of us that have built a software integration, we tend to think of an integration as one unit of work. We’re problem solvers that like to get sh$t done. Once we finish the integration we’re working on, we move onto the next one. This is how we’ve always measured success.

To date, building point-to-point integrations have been the best way to get sh$t done. Typically when building an integration the source and targets are custom, the requirements are unclear, and since requirements are unclear; testing is custom and time consuming as well. Another thing that causes companies to build point-to-point integrations, is the sense of urgency around getting systems connected. The urgency causes developers to patch something together that works, but doesn’t consider the bigger picture of never having to do the work again.

When a problem shows up in an integration, as a developer it is tempting to write a line of code or make a quick fix to solve the problem. As humans we don’t want to be wrong. We don’t want to make mistakes. We inevitably want to solve problems and build something that works. The urge to solve problems kicks in, and we take action. The instant gratification of solving the problem quickly is fulfilling.

The problem with approaching integrations this way is that by spending time to make a bunch of small fixes, we’re making a trade. The trade is that we can solve a problem quickly, but that won’t solve it forever. If we were to write custom integrations at Orderful, we would run out of time. There isn’t a future where we, or any competitor, survives by building custom integrations. Our competitors who build custom integrations are going to lose the race. No one will be able to compete with automation.

At Orderful, we’re building a system of pre-built pipes that enable reusability, provide a network, and most importantly provide a ‘lightswitch’ solution to EDI enablement.

We are always thinking about our solution as a system. In system based thinking, we need to understand the complete picture and how our actions impact the big picture. We don’t think about short term fixes. We don’t identify as consultants. We can’t spend time solving problems by building custom processes. We have built a system that enables us to automate the custom logic that is currently being built into point-to-point integrations.

Our role as a company is to build a software product where our community drives our growth. Our platform will enable companies to immediately onboard their trading partners as self-service.


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