Software integrations have become a hot topic among software developers and users.
It’s no wonder. As digital professionals, we use various tools and platforms that facilitate our work. It’s nothing new as probably every job requires software tools, there have never before been so many that were cloud-based. The cloud makes data transfers between other cloud-based systems possible and straightforward.
Why you should integrate software
These processes are commonly facilitated thanks to mechanisms like APIs, which are defined as sets of functions and procedures allowing applications to access the features or data of an operating system, application, or another service.
In other words, an API is a programmable connection between the systems that define what data can be transmitted from one system to another. And the more integrations are available, the more different tools become efficient. No wonder. Integration is all about connecting the dots.
Still not convinced if you should integrate software? We’ve gathered 11 reasons why it’s a good idea.
1. Higher employee productivity
We all have a productivity issue. An average office worker suffers interruptions every 3 minutes, and what makes things worse, it takes even 30 minutes to get back to the full focus after every distraction. In addition, professionals spend 19% of their time on finding resources, documents, and information necessary to do their jobs. This also includes bouncing around many different tools, manually moving data between them, constantly logging in and out, and often dealing with unnecessary admin.
On the other hand, it’s impossible not to use many different tools. Even the most comprehensive, all-in-one platforms have their focuses and can’t answer all the needs of everyone. That’s why we need integrations that significantly reduce the time spent on juggling separate tools and still allow us to use our favorite or affordable ones.
2. Better data flow
As already mentioned, moving data between different systems manually is ineffective, time-consuming, and unproductive. Imagine managing order processing in one tool and invoicing in a completely separate one. Or making sales without instant access to any CRM that helps to manage sales management, customer interactions, marketing campaigns and more. All of that requires tons of work of professionals who should rather focus on the tasks they’re specialized at.
However, the lack of real-time data synchronizing may even put a project in jeopardy. If the aforementioned sales team has a separate CRM that is not connected to the call center software they use, there is a significant risk of dealing with a database that is outdated, duplicated, and not accurate.
Integrations can minimize or even completely reduce this risk by allowing for smooth data flow and real-life syncing. For example, to stay within the example from the sales industry, integrating a cloud-based call center software with a well-known CRM such as HubSpot allows for having all fresh information about customers in one place. No more overlapped databases and a lack of real-time data.
Dealing with data across disjointed software systems not only leads to overlapping and lack of real-time flow but it also means that data is scattered and available in different formats which makes it difficult to get the proper insights.
For example, analyzing data from separate CRM and ERP systems may easily lead to confusion. In the worst case scenario, you may even not be able to analyze tons of valuable data or risk getting wrong insights. Thanks to integrations, data can be gathered in one central platform and therefore makes it easier to analyze.
4. Improved data accessibility
Getting all the necessary data in one place with a unified view can also significantly improve accessibility. If everyone in a company or a team can access data anytime, without asking for access and spending time on getting to know systems they haven’t been familiar with, it makes their work easier and more efficient. It’s true for both small businesses and corporations. Small businesses can cut costs and big corporations avoid wasting the time of numerous employees on finding the data they need.
5. Error reduction
Scattered and asynchronous data can lead not only to lower productivity but also to lots of errors. Moving data manually between disjoined systems and between the company departments is always prone to errors and should be avoided at all costs. Again, integrations come to the rescue and allow for moving data automatically, which minimizes the risk of errors. Thanks to that, databases are always synchronized, accurate and complete.
6. A 360-degree view of customer information
In sales and marketing, the more data about leads and customers is available, the more efficient and personalized campaigns can be. However, when data is scattered and not connected to sales or marketing automation software, the relevant teams rarely take advantage of it.
On the other hand, when all the information is stored in one place and is ready to use, companies can offer their customers a real omnichannel experience. If you haven’t heard about omnichannel, it’s an approach that provides customers with a fully integrated customer experience.
When clients visit a store (either brick-and-mortar or online), a salesperson can preview their previous purchases and interests and propose a personalized offer or activate a push notification with the offer. Omnichannel also means that the customer experience is unified and connected across many different channels: shops, social media, website presence, contact centers, newsletters, and more. However, without the right and integrated tools, companies are not able to offer the omnichannel experience, which leads to losing a lot of sales opportunities.
7. Faster business processes
Did you know that 1 out of 3 clients start to look for an offer from a competitor if they have to wait? It’s a well-known and scientifically proven fact that people hate to wait and they tend to avoid it at all costs. Call center agents who don’t have access to data and therefore are unable to solve the issue drive customers mad and poor customer service is one of the top reasons behind high churn rate. Integrations allow for speeding the business process by gathering all important data in one place and minimizing manual data entry.
Automated processes increase the speed even further and let the agents, salespeople, and marketers focus on what they do best: provide excellent customer service and campaigns.
8. Improved efficiency across teams
I’ve already mentioned that smooth data flow and easy access to databases across the different company departments are important but this topic deserves more attention. Sadly, poor communication, especially between marketing and sales teams in corporations, is so common that has become a subject of numerous reports and discussions. Marketing teams complain that when they create successful campaigns and attract leads, sales is not able to deal with them which is a waste of marketing efforts.
Sales teams complain that marketing plan and execute projects without thinking about how sales teams work. The truth is, both sales and marketing team members shouldn’t be put to blame; both do their best to achieve their KPIs. The disjoint systems should be as they block the data flow and accessibility across the teams. Again, the right integration can come to the rescue and improve efficiency in the entire company.
9. More flexibility and scalability
So far, we’ve focused on data integration between cloud-based systems but it doesn’t mean that it cannot be performed between an on-premise and a cloud-based system, which revolutionizes the way we think about how they can be used, especially in terms of flexibility and scalability. Integrations are meant to break data silos and can leverage systems to perform more efficiently or intensively.
10. Improved security
System security is not child’s play. In fact, 66% of IT professionals indicate security as their most significant concern in adopting an enterprise cloud computing strategy. One of the reasons behind it may be that the cloud is still considered a relatively new technology. In fact, on-premise solutions don’t always guarantee high security.
Another concern about security is an understandable fear of a data breach, especially in the era of increasing numbers of data protection regulations and growing fees for failing at protecting personal data. Integrations may also be an answer to this fear as they allow to give some employees only access to the part of the system that is integrated with another. An improved data flow can also reduce the risk of a breach.
Related: Don't know that much about cybersecurity and the importance of keeping your data secured? Read the top cybersecurity stats to see just how crucial security is for your company.
11. Reduced costs
The fact that software integrations lead to reducing costs is pretty obvious. You may only be surprised to what extent. However, if you count hours that skilled and experienced professionals spend on manual tasks, on trying to access data getting the right insights from overlapped or scattered and unstructured databases coming from different systems, the final cost can be enormous. Integrations are one of the most efficient ways of reducing it. Modern software providers are well aware of that and offer integrations as a part of their plans at no additional costs.
Software integration is truly a game-changer, and numerous businesses have greatly benefited from it. There are possibly countless advantages of integrations, but higher security and productivity, lower costs and improved data flow are probably the top reasons why you should start integrating platforms that you use.
As it allows manual data entry to become a thing of past, professionals across the industries, businesses and teams can focus on what they do best - provide stellar customer experience, sales, marketing, accounting or basically any other job.
All of this software talk might get you thinking: how do I know what software is best and most necessary for my company's needs? And with that, you might need help managing your tech stack and keeping things in order. Make sure to check out G2 Track, the innovative platform meant to help you reduce your software spend and improve your data security. Learn more today on G2.