Modern businesses use a LOT of software! A study by Intermedia found that, on average, medium sized businesses in the United States use 14.3 different applications. Whoa! For enterprise organizations, that number is even higher. The increase can be partly explained by the rise of “best of breed” software and SaaS (software as a service) in popularity. Add legacy systems, mobile apps and on-premise databases to the mix and things can get pretty hairy. The problem is not the number of apps per se, but that they are not able to work harmoniously with one another. Big deal, right?
WRONG! The use of multiple disparate apps can lead to poor communication, poor data, reduced collaboration and redundant processes. So, what do you do with all these apps? Well, if you’re waiting for a vendor to replace all of your applications with one amazing platform, you’ll probably be waiting a while. Like…forever. A better solution is software integration.
One of the developer nerds here at Savvy Otter might tell you that software integration is “the process of aggregating diverse sub-systems to combine to form one coherent multi-functional system.” A slightly more layman definition would be the process of merging two or more software systems so that data/functionality flows between them smoothly. I like to say it is making apps “play nice” with one another. Regardless of your preferred definition, here are a few benefits to software integration:
More Efficient = Better Productivity
If your company utilizes several siloed applications, there is a good chance you’re spending time re-entering information in several places. For instance, let’s say your sales team uses an application to track their pipeline. Once they make a sale, all of that prospect information has to now be reentered in as customer data in the accounting system. It’s also likely entered again in the project management application and again in the invoicing software. Same info entered four times. If these systems were integrated, this time consuming double entry (or in this case quadruple entry) could be avoided. Rather than enter the same data into each software program, integration allows data to be entered once and then correlated across all of the other applications. Redundant tasks increase errors and take time away from more important core duties. If you want to compete in today’s business world, you have to be efficient. Integrating your applications can reduce redundant, labor intensive and manual tasks and give your company a competitive edge.
The ability to gather timely and accurate data is becoming increasingly important in today’s business landscape. When you have multiple siloed applications, that often means you have multiple overlapping and unintegrated databases. The result of which is reporting that is prone to inaccuracy or at least takes longer to extract and aggregate. Integrating those systems can help your company avoid making critical decisions slowly, or worse, based on inaccurate information.
As companies grow, they often become more decentralized and disconnected. Accounting, HR, Marketing – these departments need to communicate effectively, but typically use their own department specific applications. We recently had a client approach us for help streamlining their performance review process. One issue they faced was that if a raise was given to an employee during their performance review, the payroll department was not finding out about it. By integrating the two applications, salary changes made in the performance review application, once approved, were automatically reflected in the payroll system. Additionally, HR and supervisors were automatically notified ensuring all departments were on the same page. By integrating the software, departments become more connected and are able to communicate and share data better.
Integrating your company’s software applications can save time and money by improving communication throughout your organization and making workflows and employees more efficient and productive. It can also help to improve the quality of your data and the speed at which you can access it. Better data leads to better decision making!
Your software should make your life easier. If your company is struggling to keep up with it’s growth because of an assortment of disconnected apps, call your local software developer today.