We are now generating more data per year than previously in the history of the human race. Social media and the rise of digital content plays a huge factor in that, but so does the digital transformation of business. Businesses now have at their disposal software that can analyze every facet of the part of their operation that it oversees.
These tools provide invaluable information to businesses but don’t always work together. This means that some of the data is duplicated, creating the possibility for crossed signals or wasted human effort. One piece of software could potentially benefit from data that isn’t duplicated but needs to communicate with the software that has it.
Either way, getting disparate software systems to talk to one another makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts so you get even more out of your software investment.
The Most Common Types of Integration
Although there are countless smaller examples, there are three main categories of big data software product that can benefit, or benefit from, other software products. These products benefit greatly from being able to take in as much relevant data as possible and provide their greatest benefit when the conclusions they draw are used as widely as possible.
Your content management system powers the content on your website. It is responsible for how many of your customers communicate with you. As such, any software that will benefit from access to information about customers is a prime candidate for integration with your CMS. It could be your mailing list manager getting sent signups directly from your website or it could mean having your customer relationship manager getting information about a customer’s browsing habits or contact information.
A good customer relationship manager does for more than just keep track of your customers. It will help you nurture leads and convert them to sales. It will help keep your brand fresh in the minds of customers without annoying them. It is the central hub for all things customer-related. Integrating your website and other marketing tools into the CRM will ensure that they all have access to the data they need to do their jobs effectively.
Enterprise resource planning software is meant to automate and streamline all of your business processes. However, your ERP is not the only system that your business uses. The only way the ERP can effectively automate everything is if the other systems are connected to it. This removes the need for human intervention to transfer data and eliminates the possibility of unwanted data redundancy and human error.
Now that we’ve talked generically about the type of software that benefits from systems integration, let’s take a look at some specific examples to give you a better understanding of how such integration can benefit your business.
- Drupal with Quark – Quark is a powerful tool for publishing web design. By connecting it to Drupal, you can combine the power of Quark with the ease of content management that Drupal provides.
- WordPress with Constant Contact – Constant Contact provides you not only with mailing list software but with analytics and marketing tools to turn the leads on that list into sales conversions. By integrating with WordPress, you can collect signups from forms seamlessly embedded into your website.
- HubSpot with Zoom – Zoom is a popular video conferencing and webinar tool. By connecting it with HubSpot, you’ll be able to easily arrange video conferences with your customers and register them for webinars.
- SalesForce with Adobe Sign – Working with documents that require signatures from customers is common in business. With Adobe Sign integrated into SalesForce, it will be easier than ever to send those documents to your customers and get them signed quickly.
- Sage Intacct with Workforce Go! – As a complete workforce management system, Workforce Go! has many features will streamline your business. By integrating with Intacct ERP, you’ll save even more hassle.
- Acumatica to Slack – Many businesses already use Slack for communication. By allowing Acumatica to use Slack for communication as well, your staff can be immediately notified of important business events.
The Benefits of IT Systems Integration
We’ve already discussed some of the benefits of just a few of the integrations that are possible. The software you task with the management of a particular form of data will always perform better when it is connected with any software that creates or uses that data. Broadly speaking, the main benefits of integration are:
- Centralized data – By integrating tools, all of the data is kept in one place. This makes sure that everything is always in-sync and there are never any out of date data related mixups.
- Automated workflows – When software systems that need the same data are not integrated together, the data transfer must be done manually. Integration allows for instant completion of this once time-consuming task.
- Reduced human error – This goes hand and hand with automation and centralized data. With data automatically updated and located in only one place, the amount of human error that can occur is drastically reduced.
Who Can Best Perform Integrations?
Even if there are convenient third-party plugins that make it easy to integrate two software products, it still requires someone tech-savvy to install them. Often, though, there are not convenient tools for the job. Even when there are, a custom solution may fit the needs of your business better. Every business is different and one size rarely fits all. The goal of integration is to automate as much as possible and share as much relevant data between the programs as possible. This often requires custom work.
Knowing when custom work would be beneficial to a business takes experience. And for the many times that plugins do not exist at all, custom work is a requirement. Digital transformation is something that you only want to have to do once, as it will change the way you do business. As such, it is important to work with a team of experts who can assess your current software and needs then come up with a plan to upgrade software as needed, make recommendations for new software products, and provide the integrations necessary to get your business operating as smoothly as possible.