What is System Integration?
Companies routinely run their business operations using a variety of sophisticated, industry-specific software programs, designed to streamline workflow and avoid costly manual data entry errors. It is common to rely on more than one such program, which often creates compatibility issues between products. The solution to this challenge is system integration.
System integration is designed to facilitate communication between different software systems by creating electronic connections between applications that are required to sync together to pool and analyze data. The goal is to create one unified platform. All the sub-systems (or integrations) are associated and function together, and may include IT systems, services, and software. Integrations are built on APIs (application programming interfaces) facilitating the flow of information between cloud-based or on-premises business applications.
Why Are Integrations Important?
System failures are time-consuming, costly, and may even result in loss of client business. Companies need their operating systems to work automatically, reliably, and synchronously. This automation can be achieved with system integration, thereby increasing productivity, decreasing both material and human resource consumption, and reducing operational costs. System integration also generates a higher quality of business analytics, providing administrative personnel with critical information to make decisions more quickly. “Systems integration promotes consistency, agility, and innovation.” – XpandIt
Integrations expand business operation functionality by using connections to important third-party applications. This can free up employee work time by automating such tasks as syncing customer data between different platforms. This automation is the key to enhanced productivity. Gone are the days when employees spend hours manually entering data into cumbersome spreadsheets.
Integrations can also include features not available in the original company systems, thereby automating a much wider range of tasks. This creates a linked workflow. Departments are no longer siloed and can more easily collaborate. “Integrations are a way of streamlining your systems and centralizing the data your business needs to make informed calculated decisions.” -BabelQuest
Most importantly, system integrations create a culture that is customer-centric. Enhanced customer interactions are possible when employees can focus on clients rather than manual data maintenance. All stakeholders, from help desk professionals to upper management, can quickly access a comprehensive view of customer interactions throughout the sales timeline to optimize customer experience and success.
Disadvantages of Not Integrating
System integrations are not mandatory but choosing not to implement them in today’s modern business environment certainly comes with significant disadvantages. As stated above, tedious manual data entry and database maintenance reduces employee productivity and wastes time which could otherwise be spent on servicing customers directly.
There are inherent issues with syncing data in real time when multiple software systems are used. Incomplete or multiple records corrupt business intelligence dashboards and prevent managers from obtaining accurate and timely views of business performance metrics.
Separate software systems require separate maintenance and upgrade schedules. Aside from being costly, these schedules may result in unnecessary operations shutdowns and monopolize the IT department resources. Upgrades can also result in new compatibility issues between systems.
Here at SalesChain, we are proud to offer numerous integrations that matter for the office technology industry. Our platform includes integrations to key industry software products that streamline your workflow. Categories include sales and marketing integrations (Microsoft Outlook, Hubspot, Google Mapping, and RingCentral), operations integrations (e-Automate, CEO Juice, Connectwise, Microsoft, ECI, Printfleet, Forza), data Integrations (Zoominfo, Infogroup, EDA, DNB, and GFK), leasing integrations (DLL, Great America, CIT, LEAF, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Canon, Marlin, and GFC), and catalog integrations and partners (TD Synnex, Ingram Micro, DM Supplies Network, Canon, HP, Xerox, Brother, Ricoh, Savin, Sharp, Kyocera, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Toshiba, Epson, Lanier, Fujitsu, and KIP). Contact us today to see if SalesChain is the right partner to help you grow your business.