Last Updated on September 8, 2021
Every modern business runs on software.
In fact, most businesses use multiple software tools every day to meet their objectives. And while the introduction of software has simplified business management and made it easier to scale and reach more customers, it’s also led to inefficiency. Ironically, the same tools that can make your job easier can also make it more complicated.
Your business can get bogged down by using too many software tools.
This is why software integration is so important.
Instead of buying tools that can’t communicate with each other, look for software that harmonizes together. This includes all of your business software, from phone to CRM to data management and beyond.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about software integration, including why it’s important and best practices to follow.
What are software integrations?
Software integration is the process of connecting two or more disparate applications together. As a modern business, you likely rely on applications to power every aspect of your organization, including marketing, human resources, customer service, and finance. You and your team probably access multiple software tools every single hour, including email, CRM, and team messaging.
Depending on your organization’s size and structure, your team may also use software to monitor web traffic, create and track ad campaigns, and offer customer support.
Software integrations synchronize and centralize information from multiple data sources, allowing you to access data from multiple tools without toggling between each.
What are the benefits of integrating software?
Let’s discuss the reasons why you should consider integrating your software.
As mentioned above, software integration eliminates the need to toggle back and forth between apps. Integrating two or more tools together reduces (or even eliminates) redundancy. The same information is automatically shared between multiple systems.
Do you find yourself doing the same tasks multiple times across different tools? There’s probably an integration that can lighten your repetitive task workload. For example, using integrations can free up your sales team to concentrate on the money-making part of their job instead of manually entering data into different software tools.
With software integrations, your data can live at one central location. And because your data will be in one spot, everyone who needs access can get it without worrying about permissions or setting up accounts for rarely used tools.
Increased accessibility will directly impact productivity. Your team can work faster and better because they can access necessary information from one tool. There’s no need to toggle between apps, or log data in multiple locations.
Software integration also eliminates the need to repeatedly login to multiple tools. This can be a source of frustration for your team members. And, if they happen to forget their login information, the often lengthy account recovery process can eat away at your team’s overall productivity.
Perhaps most importantly, an event in one app can trigger an action in another. In other words, integrations facilitate workflow automations of all kinds. A tag in a CRM can instantly mail out a package, or send a text message, for example, in an entirely different platform.
When manually transferring data from one software to the other, you may mistakenly create typos and other errors that can lead to problems. However, if you rely on software integrations or data integration tools, the data is automatically transferred without error.
Real-time data integration also ensures that your data warehouse is automatically updated and accessible by your team.
Close More Deals
Software integrations improve customer confidence when it’s time to purchase. If you, through software integrations, can speed up your business processes so that you offer better service to your customers, your customers can likewise speed up their decision-making process. The longer that your customers must wait, the less likely they’ll be to close a deal with you.
But a streamlined sales process (that includes software integrations) will empower your agents to build a relationship with your prospects and quickly counter hesitations.
What is the best integration software?
However, most software, especially cloud applications and services, offer native integrations with other, complimentary tools. Most software as a service (SaaS) businesses have at least 15 native integrations with other apps. Some SaaS offer hundreds of integrations. This enables customers to continue to use the apps that they’re accustomed to while also enjoying the added functionality of a new app.
These services can integrate apps to improve your team’s productivity. For example, you can streamline your workflow by combining your CRM with a helpdesk or dialer software or email marketing service. You can integrate a voice transcription service with your call center software. You can integrate a loyalty program into your ecommerce software. The opportunities are endless.
When making future software purchases, look for a tool that integrates with your current software set.
What are the types of software integrations?
Here are three main types of software integrations:
1. Application Programming Interface, or API
An API is a service that enables two separate systems to communicate with each other. With an API, one software doesn’t need to know how the other software operates at its core. Instead, they simply transmit and share data.
2. System Integration
System integration is the process of combining several apps that are used within the same IT ecosystem so that they can easily communicate with each other. System integration is one of the main responsibilities of an IT manager.
Webhooks are triggered notifications between websites or apps. When a specific event occurs on one website, an activated webhook can send the data to another website as an HTTP request. Webhooks can provide data in real-time.
Best Practices for Software Integration
Let’s take a look at the best practices to follow when integrating the software that powers your organization.
Audit Your Systems
Take a look at the software that you currently use. Is it working for you or do you need to consider a different tool or integration?
Consider Your Workflow
How do you use different software over the course of your sales process? In an ideal set up, how and where would workflow automations between software tools deliver the greatest time-savings?
Ask Your Team for Their Thoughts
It’s important to find out what your team thinks of your current software and process. Identify their frustrations and inefficiencies. Ask for their ideas on which software tools to integrate and why.
Decide What Can and Should Be Automated
Look into solutions for facilitating the integrations identified in the steps above. For which productivity gains justify the time, effort, and expense?
Over to you
Software integration leads to increased efficiency and productivity in the workplace. It also saves money and sanity. Use software integrations to eliminate tedious tasks and double-work, and to help your team get the most out of your tech stack.