What is it?
All businesses have systems and procedures for storing and retrieving information to help support their value chain. This could either be a folder collecting dust, a legacy system or a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution.
Let’s not worry ourselves on old systems, (remember the yellow pages?) … let’s focus more on the Application program side of things. Or, as many people call it... Software.
Application programs tend to have numerous benefits, the most common ones are usually bought to help you run operations better, cut costs and help you replace paper processes.
In fact, many businesses have embraced technology and are now proactive in buying the latest tools to boost their productivity which is great! Owners find their staff are working more efficiently, and they save so much time by relinquishing their monotonous tasks to software. In fact, they grimace at the thought of ever having to revert back to their old ways.
But software has been around for a long time now and the idea of integrating two applications together is old news. however, times are changing (and for the better). Most software being released today is stored up on the cloud which provides a whole new range of benefits to businesses.
Some popular cloud based applications are:
But… they may still be at a disadvantage.
Purchasing third-party software (or having your own software developed) can really help a business grow at an exponential rate and improve your workflow but you should consider the advantages of having them all integrated together to ensure a seamless, stress-free operation.
You should be identifying which systems have the potential to integrate and getting them to work together effectively. This thought process can help you input data from one application to the other to ensure that the data is readily available to all stakeholders within your business.
Company A has their own bespoke CRM system created to fill the void other popular CRM systems couldn`t satisfy. This was from careful and strategical planning and their sales team absolutely adore it compared to other CRM systems they`ve used in the past.
The company want to integrate a new marketing automation tool due to its potential for generating new leads for their sales team, however, they can`t due to not having internal staff who are capable of doing this.
The CRM system is essential to the sales team, so it can`t be replaced.
The new marketing automation tool has so much potential to generate leads that it has become an overly attractive proposition to help the company grow.
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to integrate the two together (due to a lack of in-house programmers) so therefore many companies would choose to disqualify the product.
However, Company A decide to bite the bullet and buy the tool. They`re a small company so they can cope with not having the two systems integrated and their marketing team don`t mind feeding the leads to sales manually.
(Fast forward a year or two...)
The company achieves exponential growth but the manual process of feeding leads from marketing to sales is simply becoming unsustainable due to the time it takes. The answer to this is an integration between the two. What was once an inconvenience has now become a barrier for marketing to complete other tasks. The integration between the two however, clears up the time it takes and the marketing team get to spend more time on exciting new projects.
By integrating the two, staff can access vital data on one portal, update accordingly and share across the whole value chain. The process of generating leads and supplying them to sales will become an autonomous process that frees up a lot of time.
Each piece of software you have must play an important part in your business, otherwise, you wouldn’t use it. Right?
Each tool plays a completely different role but provides enough value to your company to warrant an annual/monthly subscription.
You may be seeing your company grow due to technology that has enabled you to provide a tailored service (Servitization) or perhaps a tool that helps you to understand your customer journeys?
By integrating these tools together, you may begin to see benefits such as:
As your organisation grows, it will make more sense to have integrated all your systems together from an early stage. The integration process should be obvious because you want to ensure your company is highly efficient and highly organised to make life easier.
By integrating your software at a later stage, you run more risk of things going wrong and potentially upsetting customers.
If different pieces of software can support each other in different areas of your business, the likelihood of your operations efficiency will drastically improve.
We promise you.
Can you provide me with an example?
We recently worked with Fox Timber to help them integrate their current off-the-shelf accounting software “Xero” to their own E-Commerce site (A bespoke system built by us).
Their accounting software Xero is a cloud-based solution which allows users to get an instant view of their finances via an online dashboard whilst receiving daily financial updates from bank accounts and credit cards etc. They also allow business owners to communicate with their accountants via technology and companies can send invoices to customers with ease.
A very popular choice for many businesses across the world.
An accountancy software such as Xero can become key to your business. Very few businesses can do without accountancy software.
By allowing it to function with your other tools, the software then becomes a key part of your growth!
Fox Timber identified that by integrating Xero to their bespoke E-Commerce site, they can enjoy a highly functional all-in-one solution. They now have a system in place that automatically updates their accountancy software every time they make a sale.
Each sale that took place either by phone, online or in-store was processed through their e-commerce website and implemented onto Xero. The administration duties required after each purchase reduced dramatically and it allowed workers to focus their time and efforts on other tasks.
This has ensured that whoever manages their finances can clearly follow the companies sales each day, wherever they are. And the business owner could easily keep on top finances.