When software systems don’t talk, you lose productivity, increase human errors, experience inefficiencies, and more. Learn how software integrations can help.
Learn when an integration could help your business and the options for making it happen.
If your business uses multiple software systems to complete your work—and in this day and age, it’s nearly impossible not to. You’re likely using a combination of SaaS (software as a service), enterprise, and maybe even custom software
throughout your department or business. If these systems don’t integrate with each other, silos can slow work down, lead to errors, cause unnecessary rework, and negatively affect the bottom line.
To do your best work, you may not need to build a custom software system from scratch. But custom integrations can help you do more with the systems you already use in your business.
Many SaaS platforms come with built-in integrations, and tools like Zapier have made it easier to connect systems with APIs. Those are great options for simple workflows, but when your needs go beyond the basics or if the built-in integrations become
tedious to manage, custom integrations can build bridges to efficiency.
Integrations are also vital if you’re working toward master data management (MDM), where your data
is managed in one central place and moves both ways, to and from systems that can access it.
Imagine on one end you have your accounting system, and on the other, a client portal. Let’s say clients use the portal to order your products or services, and your team uses the accounting software. If the two systems don’t talk, somehow
the information about what clients ordered has to get into the accounting system for invoicing and tracking. There are a few ways that might happen without integration:
A team member manually inputs the data from the portal into the accounting system
A team member periodically exports the data from the portal and imports it into the accounting system
There are a lot of errors that can happen with either of those workflows:
The team member mistypes something when entering the data
A row of data is missed because the spreadsheet was printed in 8pt font
A client purchases something after-hours that doesn’t get included in the data export—then either the client doesn’t get what they need or they get it for free
This is an example for illustrative purposes, but you can probably start to see how the concept might apply in your business.
There are several different levels of system integration, from basic to advanced.
One-way Connections - The simplest way to connect two software systems is to create one-way data pushes. These can be triggered by a certain activity or scheduled to run at certain times.
Two-way Connections - A next level up is integrating systems so they pass data back and forth. This can also be triggered by activity or schedule. Back-and-forth integrations help data within separate systems stay synced and up to date.
Integrated Portal - Sometimes you need a completely separate system that serves as a home base for information and/or functionality from other systems. One or many systems can integrate with a portal to centralize high-priority data.
Learn more about your options in our systems integration guide.
A great solution for many businesses is a custom portal that pulls together information from other systems into one central point of access.
With this setup, each software system (e.g., accounting, marketing, custom software) can continue to do what it does best. Your business can use best-in-market software without the frustration of data silos.
A custom portal can take many shapes—hence the “custom” tag. It can be anything from a simple dashboard that just pulls KPIs from each system, or it can be a complex connection of disparate systems with a user interface and standalone functionality not found in any of the systems that feed it.
Custom integrations and portals help businesses work smarter, not harder, by connecting tools and data sources for workflow efficiency.
At least yearly, systems that use 3rd party integrations need to be checked to make sure they’re still functioning as expected and meet security requirements. Integrations may need updated, tested, or otherwise changed, depending on what the integrated platform has changed since implementation. Throughout the year, exception monitoring and handling can help catch potential issues—both with integrations and the system as a whole—to alert you of any major effects on your system.
Here’s how we’ve helped clients integrate software systems.
How we integrate external data sources into custom software platforms.
How the Performance Bodies ecommerce system connects to backend and other systems.
An integrated ERP brings data from across the enterprise together to set Peterson Genetics apart.
Want to dive deeper into software integrations? Read some of our blog posts on the topic.
You don’t have to navigate complex software integrations on your own. A consultation session with our experts can shed light on any questions you may have.
We can help you uncover the best integration strategy for your company’s goals. Let’s talk. No obligations and no strings attached.
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