Many large and enterprise businesses rely on off-the-shelf packages like SAP and Salesforce to conduct their core operations. Even small businesses leverage off-the-shelf software like QuickBooks to manage day-to-day tasks. But these packages have data interfaces that range from outdated text-based import/export to more sophisticated web API interfaces that allow access to data and internal processes. So, to get the most out of these systems, most large-scale implementations require data and systems integrations that allow communication between disparate systems. For organizations of all sizes, here are some of the benefits of custom systems integrations.
Maximize your technology investments
One of the biggest reasons to embrace custom system integrations is because they allow you to continue leveraging investments into your existing software and data solutions. Whether you’re talking hardware, software, or even resources put into training and system customization, the technology you currently have in place is still useful and more cost-effective compared to replacement. Imagine you had systems housed within an outdated mainframe that made it impossible for certain business segments to access important data. Replacing that hardware and moving all of the associated data to the cloud would be a large undertaking and come with considerable costs. Instead, you could write a web API wrapper to securely expose that data to a wider group of users and systems. This cost-effective solution could effectively extend the lifespan of that mainframe hardware while minimizing disruption to business operations.
Improve operational efficiency
Another benefit of custom system integrations is that they allow new groups of users to access critical data and processes, improving collaboration and efficiency throughout your organization. Consider a wholesale company that uses a network of dealers to sell their products. They take orders from salespeople and enter them into the appropriate system. Exposing the order-taking system the salespeople use via an ecommerce integration allows the dealers to instead order some products directly from the company via the web, cutting costs and increasing efficiency.
Eliminate manual tasks
Custom system integrations can also help eliminate the manual tasks that slow down productivity. When you have multiple systems that can’t communicate with one another, you will inevitably find yourself entering the same data multiple times in different systems. This manual rework is not only tedious, but it also takes time away from more important tasks. But if you connect those systems with a seamless integration, data can flow uninhibited between the two systems and eliminate the need to key in information multiple times, once again increasing efficiency for your organization.
Increase security, reduce maintenance
While giving more people access to your data may seem like it would increase risk, custom system integrations can actually improve cybersecurity while reducing maintenance costs. A great example is an integrated, active directory repository that allows you to use a single authorization mechanism for all of your apps. Consolidating security in this way also reduces security maintenance to a single point, cutting costs and increasing the speed at which your IT team can respond to any issues.
Leverage new technology
Business intelligence (BI) tools are the way of the future for any company that wants to refine processes and uncover insights that could lead to better business results. But BI solutions are only as effective as the data made available to them. Custom system integrations allow these tools to pull more data together to unpack more actionable insights. For example, if you used a BI tool to analyze your sales data, you may be able to identify some trends that could help you refine some processes. But if you were to connect your sales and customer relationship management (CRM) systems with a custom system integration, your BI solutions could achieve a better understanding of your customer acquisition, sales and overall customer experience to deliver better insights. In the same way that increasing data connectivity can increase efficiency for your personnel, it can also allow you to leverage new technology for the benefit of your business.
Many companies have both proprietary and off-the-shelf software solutions as part of their technology mix. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but if you want to maximize efficiency and put your organization in the best possible position to succeed, you need those systems to work in harmony. Custom system integrations allow you to get more out of your technology investments while improving access to data to increase efficiency throughout your organization. By considering your technology in a holistic way and using system integrations to improve data connectivity, you can create a technology ecosystem that provides significant benefits to your business.