How many software programs do you use to run your business? Do you even know?
With the rise of online hosted software applications, you might have quite a few. You login and logout of different applications all day long without even considering there may be an easier way to work.
Clients often tell us “everything is in QuickBooks” or in their manufacturing system, but when they step back and reflect on overall operations, they realize that’s not true.
- Orders are coming in through their eCommerce website
- Sales being managed in Outlook or in a CRM system like Hubspot
- Emails being sent to customers using MailChimp
- Support is being managed with ZenDesk
Missing the big picture
While each department is self-sufficient and able to get their work done, having siloed business systems eventually creates problems because you don’t have a full view of your business.
Some real-world recent examples we’ve seen include:
- Salespeople trying to sell to customers with large overdue balances.
- An inventory system with 5000+ SKUs, detailed product descriptions, shipping weights and cut sheets that don’t exist in QuickBooks, making it difficult for the company to get a detailed understanding of profitability by product.
- The customer updates their address in the online web store, but because this information isn’t updated in the manufacturing system in real-time, the order is sent to the wrong address, creating extra expense and an unhappy customer.
- Online orders come into a salesperson’s email inbox, which then has to be typed into the manufacturing system, leaving room for error.
There are hidden costs when your business information is disconnected like this because you can’t see the full picture. Connecting your systems will give you new insight and save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Integrations will also improve your business by:
- Reducing human errors made because of multiple systems
- Cutting down data security risks with fewer systems and passwords involved
- Offering a full view of your business from angles you’ve never had before
Developing a streamlined process
Before we actually do any software integration work, we help clients come up with a process for updating the multiple systems to decide:
- When should a record or system be updated?
- Which system takes priority?
- What’s the “one source of truth”?
- Who has authority to make changes?
Sometimes these processes are straightforward:
Other times, these processes are more complex, and need to be flow-charted:
- Is this a multiple item order?
- Do we have all the inventory in stock?
- Are there raw materials in stock?
- Do we need to manufacture or assemble any of these items?
- Are these all fast-moving inventory items?
- Can we have items drop shipped?
- Should we split the delivery?
- Which warehouse should we ship from?
Signs that software integration should be considered
See how many of these apply to you:
You don’t trust the data.
- You have to check multiple systems to make sure information is correct
- You spend a lot of time in meetings, on phone calls and walking down the hall to clarify and verify information
You’re spending too much time on low value administrative work
- Employees are re-keying information into multiple systems
- You have spreadsheets for everything
- Employee turnover is high because the work is boring and repetitive
Mistakes are happening
- You can’t deliver because the parts aren’t in stock
- Customers aren’t getting the right information or shipments
- Information is mis-typed from one system to another
You’ve decided. You need to integrate your software applications.
Once you’ve decided that integrating your software applications is something you want to explore, give us a call. We’ll help you understand what’s possible and how to achieve your goals.
If your software has API access, we may be able to get away with low-cost integration tools without having to create a custom code. There are a few low-cost tools on the market like Zapier, Microsoft Flow, and IFTTT.
If these aren’t enough, we can recommend how to use software development to integrate your systems. We’ll work with you to understand your business, goals and systems to make a recommendation that best fits your needs.
LOOKING FOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT EXPERTS?
Every day we see how profoundly software development can make a difference in our client’s businesses and lives. Software can dramatically increase efficiency and reduce frustration. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, schedule a call with us!
Why is system integration important?
Integrating your software systems is important because it’s the easiest way to stay up to date with our evolving technology. An integrated system will cut down data security risks, streamline your processes and reduce errors.
What are some benefits of system integration?
Benefits of integrating your software are: • Reduced costs • Streamlined process • Easier collaboration • Less security risk • Reduced errors
What is involved in software integration?
All of your current systems will become one system without duplicate information. This will streamline your process and reduce errors. Find a software development team to help you get started.
What are examples of integrated software?
Software integration is many systems becoming one. An example of integrated software is Microsoft Office – containing most programs you need in an office (Word, Excel, Outlook etc.)