At its core, business is about streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. Technological advancements have always been a powerful tool for achieving these goals, and the proliferation of software applications has made it possible for businesses to automate an ever-increasing number of tasks.
A joint survey by Mulesoft and Deloitte found that the average company is now using 976 different applications. This is up from 843 applications last year, an increase of 133 apps.
The results of the survey make it clear that businesses are relying on a growing number of applications to run their operations. This is driven by factors such as the increasing number of applications per company, the need to integrate legacy systems, the rise of microservices, an increased customer base, and increased competition.
This increase has accentuated the need for integrating these disparate applications. This is where software integration comes in.
7 Ways Software Integration Can Benefit Your Business
Software integration is the process of combining two or more software applications via their application programming interfaces (APIs) so that they can share data and functionality. When done correctly, integration can lead to several benefits for businesses, big or small.
Let’s take a closer look at how software integrations can help businesses stay ahead of the curve:
1. Seamless data sharing
In the past, businesses would have to rely on manual data entry to share information between different departments and applications. This was not only time-consuming but also led to a high rate of errors. Software integrations allow for seamless data sharing between different departments and applications. It eliminates the need for manual data entry, which can be time-consuming and prone to error.
When information can flow freely between different software applications, businesses can operate more efficiently and get tasks done in a fraction of the time. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that rely heavily on data-driven decision-making.
When all of your business’s data is stored in a central location and accessible by all authorized users, you can be sure that everyone is working with the same information. This can help to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication between departments, ultimately leading to more efficient and effective decision-making.
2. Real-time visibility
Transparency is critical for making sound business decisions in today’s fast-paced world—you need to be able to see what’s happening in your business at all times to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources and how to respond to changes in the marketplace.
With all of your data in one place, you can quickly and easily generate reports that give you an up-to-date snapshot of how your business is performing. Through software integration, you’ll always have access to up-to-date information on sales numbers, marketing campaigns, inventory levels, customer interactions, and more. Having this level of visibility is essential for making informed decisions about your business in a timely manner. It’s also helpful for identifying potential problems early on so that you can take steps to avoid them.
3. Reduced duplicate data entry
When information is siloed in different software applications, employees often have to enter the same data multiple times. This not only wastes time but also increases the chances of error. By integrating software applications like workflow management solutions, you can avoid this problem entirely and increase employee productivity.
4. Increased sales potential
Having a 360-degree view of your customer allows your sales team to upsell and cross-sell more effectively. When you know what products or services your customers have purchased in the past, you can make tailored recommendations that they’re more likely to take advantage of.
5. Improved data security
Cyber-attacks have been on the rise for years now, and they are only getting more sophisticated. The average cost of a data breach is now $4.35 million, which is a 12.7% increase from last year. This number is only going to continue to rise, which is why improving data security should be a priority for all businesses.
When a business relies on multiple standalone applications, it’s difficult to track and manage data effectively. This can leave sensitive information vulnerable to security breaches. Hackers only need to breach one system to gain access to all of your customer data. But when that data is stored in a single, central location, it becomes much easier to protect. That’s because you can put security measures in place that would be impossible with multiple systems. For example, you could integrate the business’s main operating system with a VPN to encrypt all of the data being passed between the different software applications. This would make it virtually impossible for hackers to access your customer data, even if they did manage to breach one of the systems.
6. Better customer service
One of the main goals of any business is to provide excellent customer service. When your systems are integrated, your customer service team will have access to all the information they need in one place and will be able to resolve customer issues more quickly and effectively. For example, by integrating your customer relationship management (CRM) system with your financial software, you can provide your customers with up-to-the-minute information on their account status. This level of transparency can create greater customer satisfaction, as well as build trust and loyalty, leading to repeat business and referrals down the road.
7. Gain a competitive edge
When you integrate your software applications, you’ll be able to gain valuable insights into how your business operates at a granular level. This could include things like which products are selling well and which aren’t, which areas of your business are most profitable, and where inefficiencies exist in your processes. By having this information readily available, you’ll be able to make changes and adjustments as needed to stay ahead of the competition.
Software integration is a crucial part of any modern business—it’s what allows businesses to unify their communication channels and become more agile in the face of change. By implementing software integrations, businesses can fully realize the utility of applications in use, which will in turn place them in a strong position to succeed in today’s digital environment.