Digital transformation has meant that businesses in every sector now rely on software to manage most, if not all, of their day-to-day operations. It’s for this reason that effective software integration is so critical – ensuring that all business systems are aligned, connected, and working towards the same objectives.
Most businesses have become accustomed to switching software platforms as and when their task list dictates throughout the day. But without the appropriate level of integration, you run the risk of inaccuracies and duplication, not to mention wasted resources and a drop in overall efficiency.
What’s more, software integration can bring a wealth of benefits to your business, including streamlined task management, improved productivity, and more effective collaboration between teams and departments. So, if you were in any doubt about the positives of integrated software, this guide is here to set the record straight.
Below, we’ve outlined the key benefits of software integration, showing you exactly why this type of operational refinement should be a priority point for your business.
- What is Software Integration and Why Is It Important?
- 5 Benefits of Business Software Integration You Need to Know
- How an ERP System Can Support Advanced Software Integration
Software integration is the process of connecting two or more independent business systems, typically via an application programming interface (API). It’s used to allow otherwise separate software to connect and communicate with each other, and is most commonly seen with business management software systems that connect to best of breed solutions not facilitated by the main business software – such as logistics apps, credit card payment apps, etc.
As touched on in our introduction, businesses often use a blend of applications as part of their operations. Without software integration, these systems would remain separate, without the interconnectivity to facilitate data sharing, collaboration, and seamless, cross-departmental functionality.
In some instances, teams and individuals may require specific tools that aren’t commonly used by the rest of the organisation. But it’s more often the case that multiple teams can benefit from ready access to an integrated software infrastructure – with sales, marketing, and accounts personnel all able to access the same applications, for example.
Generally, disconnected applications are bad for business. If you want your teams to be singing from the same hymn sheet, software integration is essential for facilitating unified, efficient, and interconnected operations.
Integration isn’t simply a case of mitigating the risks of an overreliance on detached and disconnected software applications. It can bring real benefit to your day-to-day operations, solving problems and boosting efficiencies across the board.
Below, we look at five of the key advantages of software integration.
Data Accuracy, Consistency, and Unification
Data is among your business’ greatest assets. But without the right level of integration between systems, you could be compromising the quality and reliability of your data sets – not to mention limiting the scope of how the information can be used.
By allowing 3rd party apps to communicate, integration facilitates more efficient and unified data gathering, sharing, and discovery. Should a user modify or input data on one system, it will update on other applications too, ensuring optimal consistency and accuracy across all business functions.
Not only does software integration improve data accuracy, but it makes your information more usable too. For example, with marketing teams able to access the same real-time data as your sales and customer service reps, they can implement improvements that drive revenue and encourage customers towards specific products and services.
When information can flow freely across your organisation, the stage is set for enhanced automation and process streamlining. No roadblocks or unnecessary steps; software integration means maximum efficiency, with fluid data retrieval and intuitive connectivity between related systems and business functions.
A good example of how software integration can support process automation is the eCommerce and order fulfilment cycle. Despite a complex workflow comprising sales, web, marketing, logistics, and warehousing, software integration means that customer order requests can flow freely, with automation removing the need for resource-intensive manual processing and the risk of operator error.
Reduces Costs and Eases Resource Pressure
While integrating software will incur some setup fees, the potential savings more than offset the cost of onboarding integration capabilities. With software integration in place, you can reduce your reliance on manual, labour-intensive tasks, which ultimately boosts productivity and efficiency, cuts costs, and ensures that your teams can focus on more important, growth-aligned work.
And it isn’t just a boost in operational efficiency which can lead to cost savings. Having a unified database means savings on the cost of disparate data storage and associated fees. You may also be able to cut ties with some vendors, subscriptions, and applications, further improving cost-effectiveness while ensuring optimal business streamlining.
While utilising disparate systems may have some security benefit, managing the day-to-day safety and security of multiple tools and applications can prove a minefield for even the most tech-savvy organisations. With team members using multiple apps, all with different levels of security provision, your systems may be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than you might realise.
By integrating your business management software, you’ll be much better placed to oversee and manage the security of your database and network. With centralised controls and consistent access protocols, team members can navigate company systems without jeopardising security. Plus, you’ll benefit from increased accountability, with a view of when specific files, data and programs were accessed, and by who.
Consistent business growth relies on scalable infrastructure that is cost-effective and aligned with key objectives. If your team is boxed in by disparate systems, you may find it more difficult to realise your ambitions for growth – particularly if you’re also saddled with the spiralling costs of maintaining multiple inefficient systems.
Introducing software integration facilitates scale by allowing systems to share the same resources, including a centralised and easy-to-manage database. No need to update and maintain individual systems when they reach capacity or become outdated; by turning to modern ERP systems with REST API capabilities, you can scale up as and when you need to, with changes applying to your entire operational infrastructure, and not simply to one or two specific platforms.
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and enhance integration across your operations, an ERP system with REST API services provides a powerful means of ensuring optimal connectivity, access, and streamlining.
Affording seamless connectivity between both internal and external software applications via REST API services, ERP software can prove a game-changer for businesses that want to take advantage of best of breed solutions for their industry, e.g., PIMs, eCommerce solutions etc.
To learn more about how ERP software can support unrivalled integration and control, meet Intact iQ. An enterprise-wide management solution, Intact iQ harnesses an advanced software stack and next-gen APIs to provide a seamless experience across all areas of your business. Click here to learn more.
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