Integration of systems is a technical phrase that refers to connecting the different software an organization uses to handle its workflow. The linking ensures more efficient processes amongst a myriad of other benefits.
Integration of different systems can be quite daunting but it’s necessary for scaling businesses. In fact, it reduces human error significantly. Here are some of the common mistakes by integrating the various software programs in your company.
Think of the various situations where the output of one process is the input of another process. If such output is data, integration of two different programs can automate the whole process. Relying on humans to perform data entry not only slows down the work, but it carries the risk of errors. Data errors cost the US Economy $3 trillion due to wrong decisions being made, redoing tasks, and time.
A great example would be integrating field operations with the billing systems. This ensures that once a service is rendered by the field team and a completion report is generated, a bill is automatically generated for the correct amount and sent to the right client.
People rarely enjoy menial tasks. Automation through integration means that staff can handle tasks that challenge and engage them mentally while affecting the company’s bottom line positively. Allowing integration also ensures consistency because once the setup is done and instructions fed into the software, it will remain that way until such instructions are altered.
The Lack of Proper Sales Leads Follow Up
Failing to properly integrate your systems could lead to the loss of great opportunities to grow your revenue. For instance, the social media team could engage an interested customer who makes an inquiry on a product. The information they need may need to originate from another department, say production. The social media team promises to seek the information and reach the client through call or email. There needs to be a way to ensure that a ticket is raised by the team, an answer received from the production team, and the information passed back to the client. Potential sales opportunities will not be lost when various departments have a way of sharing information through their systems.
Use of Outdated Data
The high speed of business today creates the need for agility like no other time. Businesses must be able to pivot with changing external operating environments. People making decisions on behalf of the company must be empowered with real-time data to avoid costly mistakes. For instance, when negotiating a manufacturing contract, the people at the table should have real-time data on what it will cost to deliver. A marginal increase in the cost of an important input could wipe out millions of dollars in profit. Systems integration puts power in the hands of decision makers by giving them access to data and communication channels to colleagues in other departments or geographical locations.
Poor Data Security
There is a big risk when a company’s data spreads across different platforms. The platforms might not have similar security architecture which could leave some platforms as weak points. Part of integration is ensuring the security of shared data in and amongst the different systems. This is sometimes a statutory requirement depending on the industry a company operates. The integration allows the company to strategize and implement standardized security protocols.
Incompatibility with Industry Standard Tools
A company that has many fractured systems is most likely using old IT architecture. This makes it difficult to take advantage of emerging trends and tools in software development. One such development is the use of APIs to add functionalities such as online payments for e-commerce, location finders, calculators, weather predictions, and more. The lack of compatibility means that the organization must consider building its own solutions from scratch even when a popular industry-tested solution exists. This is a crucial factor why modernization of IT infrastructure is important in today’s environment. In fact, customers interacting with company apps and websites expect world-class experiences.
Failing to Plan for Scaling
Integrating different software systems today prepares a business for scaling. It will most likely involve adjusting to a cloud-based computing environment. Such an environment sets up the business so that it can adjust capacity as needs and financial resources grow. If need be, the business can scale back. Having completely unrelated software for your workflow makes such agility impossible.
Businesses today are opting to build customer enterprise management software that includes different features that would otherwise be gotten from different software. Though this might initially be a big investment financially, the return on investment is massive.
Other Benefits of Software Integration
Its difficult to quantify some of the benefits that arise from streamlining workflow in one enterprise management software. For instance, there are massive gains that arise from better decision-making due to having information in real-time. Consolidating systems also reduced overhead costs for a company in terms of maintenance, as there is only one system to service and improve.
Using a single system springs up opportunities to collect data and use it to get insights and opportunities. Data is a critical asset for any organization because it reduces reliance on subjective judgment, which is a great way to minimize decision-making risk.
Going About Software Integration Projects
Integration projects are delicate and complex and often require months of planning. One of the major pitfalls is failing to understand the level of complexity to expect. Technical knowledge alone is not enough. An understanding of the business process is necessary to design a working framework for the integration. The IT service provider leading the integration process must not only be experienced but must also have the right resources (human skill) to oversee the work to completion.
If your company needs help with system integration projects, check out Transcendent Software. We are an IT services firm with over 20 years of experience in helping clients develop and get the best out of their IT infrastructure.