If you’re like many companies, you’ve gradually accumulated a variety of software systems to handle different tasks in different departments of your company. In many cases, the separate software used by each department can create a “silo” effect, with minimal communication between departments. Even departments that are closely entwined in theory — like marketing and sales — may be using totally different software systems and storing different sets of data. Gathering and compiling this data can be time-consuming and can require manual data entry, for which you’ll need to pay low-level staff.
With the right expertise, your various siloed software systems could actually be joined back together, making things a lot easier for everyone throughout the company. Out-of-the-box software and software-as-a-service solutions can be integrated together by experienced development experts, letting data and information be shared more effectively between synced databases.
Software integration can bring considerable value to your business. By integrating separate platforms, you can improve the ease of collaboration between staff working on different projects, save on labor and IT infrastructure costs, and eliminate the need for certain rote tasks such as manual data entry.
For large enterprises with numerous departments, software integration can be an investment that’s worth pursuing due to its long-term ROI. The initial costs of bringing in a contractor to handle said integration can be recovered many times over due to the cost savings that software integration brings.
Understanding Enterprise Software Integration
Enterprise software integration is a means of bridging the otherwise considerable gap between two given enterprise-level software or software-as-a-service programs. This allows data to flow seamlessly from one application to another, keeping all of your records and databases consistent. This can eliminate the need for manual data entry from various programs, as well as allowing better collaboration by ensuring that the departments have access to all of the available data.
Integration simplifies and streamlines your various software systems, and when you reduce complexity, you reduce your costs as well. IT is an important area of spending for companies of various sizes across a range of industries, and it’s a prime area to focus on for reducing costs.
Applications of Software Integration
Software integration is a strategy that can help large enterprise-level corporations bridge existing gaps between siloed departments, ensuring stable real-time information sharing between different teams using different specialized software.
Some of the biggest candidates for integration can include the following:
- Supply-chain management software systems
- Customer relationship management software and SaaS platforms, such as Salesforce and Hubspot CRM
- Business intelligence and analytics programs
- Human resources databases
- Internal communications
- Marketing communications
- Resource planning
- E-commerce optimization initiatives
In large companies, the various departments are often relatively isolated from one another, with limited flow of data and information between them. Software integration can sync the various databases together, keeping information consistent between them and eliminating manual data entry for transcribing data from one system to another.
Benefits of Integrating Your Software Systems
Why pursue software integration? Believe it or not, siloed software systems are creating roadblocks to productivity and efficiency, ultimately creating additional costs. By integrating the various platforms that your company uses, information can flow more freely between them. It’s easier for departments to communicate and collaborate, and centralizing data provides a better “bird’s eye view” of performance. This can help your company become more agile and better-equipped to address ongoing changes in the marketplace.
The following are some of the most important benefits of integrating software platforms.
Share Information More Easily
Software integration is a major boon for team collaboration, especially between separate departments. By keeping data consistent between programs that are designed for different business applications — sales software, marketing software, accounting software, and other specialized programs — each department can benefit from access to data obtained by other departments.
Here’s a quick example: integrating Salesforce with Hubspot. In many large companies, it’s all too common for the sales department and the marketing department to be effectively “siloed” away from each other, with minimal interaction. But better collaboration between marketing — which brings in leads initially through your sales funnel and marketing strategy — and the sales team — which closes the deals — can be massively beneficial.
When the sales team is using Salesforce and the Marketing team is using Hubspot, the data stored and obtained by both departments is separate unless it’s manually combined or compared. By taking advantage of Hubspot’s ability to integrate with Salesforce and share data, both teams can benefit from access to the other department’s information.
Real-Time Data Visibility
When software platforms are integrated and share information consistently between themselves, it’s much easier to get an accurate idea of business performance. Instead of manually gathering relevant information from numerous systems, you can gain an integrated view of performance across various departments in one centralized location. This real-time data visibility can be incredibly valuable for making informed strategic decisions.
Improved Productivity & Efficiency
When your employees have to deal with inefficient and disjointed processes and juggle numerous software programs and their associated data, it takes time and energy that would be better channeled toward their core job duties, particularly those that generate revenue. Processes like invoicing, order processing, and expense approvals can be time-consuming, but there are software integration options available that can help you automate them. Instead of having employees manually re-enter information from one application into another, this can occur automatically whenever information in one program is added, deleted, or changed. Removing these rote yet time-consuming tasks can help your company become more agile and adaptable, with your staff free to focus on their core strengths.
Software integration is also quite conducive to automating processes that previously required manual input from human workers. It’s no secret that this automation has the potential to produce massive cost savings. By getting rid of as much manual data entry and other rote processes as possible, you can avoid new hires you would otherwise need to handle those tasks. The costs of software are far lower than paying hourly wages or salaries for even the lowest-paid employees, and by eliminating data entry roles through increased automation, the initial cost of software integration pays for itself several times over in the long term.
Centralize Your Storage
When you integrate software platforms, you can keep all of the needed information available and consolidated in one location. This prevents the need for manual upkeep of data as it is created, changed, or deleted. Instead of needing access to multiple platforms to gather data, it can be integrated automatically.
Create a Single Unified Data Pool
A unified data pool provides better information access across departments. Everyone can get an accurate overview of the data currently available, without needing to access numerous isolated systems.
Reduce IT Complexity
For enterprise-level companies, implementing new software solutions can be an operational challenge. By combining the functionalities and interfaces of multiple programs into something more streamlined and centralized, complexity is reduced, making the systems easier to work with and decreasing the need for extensive on-boarding for new staff who need to learn to use the software.
Save on Costs
One of the biggest benefits of pursuing software integration is that it saves money. In some cases, the amount saved can be quite significant, making integration services a worthwhile investment for companies. Many companies have already managed to cut IT costs considerably by doing things like virtualizing servers instead of buying new ones, consolidating data centers, and outsourcing various services to cost-effective offshore providers. But integrating your software platforms can also bring impressive savings.
When you eliminate unnecessary complexity, you can cut costs. Having numerous different out-of-the-box software platforms with little to no integration between them is a form of needless complexity.
Software integration can also use the two programs’ APIs to sync data between them. This can eliminate time-consuming manual data entry tasks, which would otherwise either take up the time of staff who could be better used elsewhere, require its own low-level employees, or need to be outsourced to more affordable overseas workers. Employees no longer need to master multiple complex software systems with significant learning curves.
Software Integration Solutions
We work with large enterprises to provide custom software integration services. Whether you need better connections and information flow between multiple cloud-based SaaS platforms, or to integrate legacy software or custom applications with other programs, our team of expert developers can make it happen. We also provide specialist software integration expertise for Salesforce, the world’s leading enterprise customer relationship management software.
To find out more about your company’s options for using software integration to boost efficiency, productivity, and strategic decision-making, reach out to us anytime. Call our offices anytime to talk to a helpful representative, or fill out our online contact form to get in touch today.