A business entity nurtures a unique work ethic and culture and then synchronizes technology with a strategy to achieve different business goals. The company grows profitably only if the IT components or subsystems work in harmony with humans, and not at cross purposes.
In the beginning, companies usually opt for the cheapest and most effective software solutions, and it seems alright as long as applications perform as per expectations. As companies expand and grapple with more significant challenges, applications come into conflict or become redundant. Conflicting software lowers worker productivity, and the company experiences a growth slump.
Buying off-the-shelf software comes with its share of bugs and systems conflict, and the bespoke solution developed to meet the company’s exact needs demands an expensive makeover. The faster and cost-effective alternative is to integrate existing systems without upsetting the apple cart.
It is the job of the systems integrator to ensure that existing subsystems and operational components work seamlessly so that a company can handle its expanding customer base, deliver exceptional services, and grow profitably.
We asked the system integration experts at Entrance Consulting to explain how businesses benefit by opting for systems integration. If you’re dead serious about integrating your systems and improving your business, these insights will be an eye-opener.
System integration benefit 1#: Interoperability of components receives a boost
The traditional batch-wise analysis of data might work for businesses that grow incrementally with a limited customer base. The expanding business, exposed to data streaming from different platforms, needs a system that fosters more meaningful interaction between component parts. Strengthened by the interoperability of parts, companies respond faster to changes in customer preferences to improve business and to grow.
System integration enables interoperability between different platforms which means that no matter where you source your data from, you can download data, scan the information, do data analytics, generate meaningful reports, and have your business segments synced in real-time.
When a visitor requests a quote, and you have actionable data at your disposal 24/7, you’re in a position to respond with an offer customized to the user’s needs and provide a matching product deliverable in real-time.
System integration benefit 2#: Data accuracy drives error-free decisions
There’s a lot of importance attached to gathering data, but what do you do when the data is wrong, dated, or irrelevant? It’s the data that generates insights that enable you to take instant decisions, and bad data translates to bad decisions that lose business.
If, for example, you’re planning a campaign targeting a niche audience using static data, you run the risk of seeing your campaign crashing at the first sign of changing customer preferences.
In a rapidly changing environment, the data that you collect has an increasingly shorter shelf life. So, maintaining data accuracy, along with data integrity, is of paramount importance.
By integrating systems, you generate real-time data that is continually refreshed, primed, and ready for taking realistic decisions.
When systems get integrated, you shift from manual data manipulation to automated interoperability, and that means decisions will be more accurate and less error-prone.
System integration benefit 3#: Time management and resource optimization improve profitability
It’s easy to succumb to the temptation of micromanaging your human resources to drive business growth. When your business is multi-locational, using multiple platforms targeting audiences across national boundaries, you’re better off using machines to do the job faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost.
In the coming decade, you’ll see more businesses managing time and optimizing resources by turning to integrated systems and big data management protocols. Let’s see how business models have evolved.
- In traditional businesses, the data used to be aggregated manually to be segmented and analyzed to drive decision-making, which was incredibly time-consuming and a resource hungry process.
- With data residing in multiple sources in many formats, data import and export was a daily chore, and today’s CRM data archive would possibly reflect information that was at least a day or older.
- On-premise data warehouses aggregated data, but there was still a noticeable lag in data collection and customization. We were still guzzling resources, maintaining largely inaccurate data.
A paradigm shift occurred with the advent of APIs and cloud-operated services that enabled a higher degree of automation and real-time data aggregation cost-effectively.
In an integrated system, the parts are not acting in isolation but are communicating faster between themselves. The spin-off is the evolution of microservices building applications suites that are independently deployable.
So system integration should be viewed as a powerful tool that simplifies interoperability, which builds business efficiencies in a far better way than manual methods. Over time, you see integration strengthening the bottom line.
System integration benefit 4#: Collaboration and communication improves among team members
System integration brings greater transparency and improved visibility to data that is streaming in from different company segments. This information, shared within an integrated system, fosters open discussion and debate as team members aim to maximize the data’s potential for achieving common goals.
System integration encourages team members to share information in a collaborative and communicative medium. Employees become more discerning about how their employers talk and listen to them as feedback is exchanged and actioned on a real-time basis.
System integrated, collaborative teamwork reaffirms common goals and equips employees with the tools that set them up for success in a rapidly changing environment that demands quick responses.
System integration benefit 5#: Employee productivity improves without sacrificing quality
In the old-fashioned way of working, employees would waste considerable time digging out relevant information from different departments for outlining marketing strategies and for fleshing out campaigns.
With the integration of business tools and applications, every information that is deemed necessary for decision making would be available on a unified platform. Every conceivable data regarding policy guidelines, campaign strategy, and consumer feedback (aggregated on a real-time basis) would be available under one roof.
The delivery model of an integrated system removes the need for moving data manually between different apps. The employee isn’t distracted and focuses on business-critical tasks with greater accuracy.
The integration enables employees to access information regardless of geographical location and time constraints. The employee won’t experience downtime waiting for apps to update or the system to synchronize. The result is improved productivity wedded to the increased work quality.
System integration benefit 6#: Real-time data analytics improves company responsiveness to customers
By real-time data, we mean the information that is being updated-by-the-minute and which is streaming in from a broad spectrum of devices such as mobiles, tablets, laptops, phones, and desktops.
System integration enables companies to visualize better information streaming from a spectrum of sources. When you see data that is streaming in real-time, you’re seeing what’s working and what isn’t. You know instinctively what’s changing and which approach needs a course correction. You get an overview regarding issues that become irrelevant and problems that need quick resolution.
The integrated system-enabled data analytics model provides a clear perspective on what’s working for the business and what can be done to improve a campaign or enhance customer conversions.
At this stage, consider the benefits of using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to crunch big data, and you’ve set yourself free to restructure your strategies, re-think outdated campaign methodologies, and boost your overall performance.
A while back, it seemed almost impossible for companies to integrate all their systems to run the business. Companies were struggling with expensive solutions to cater to their genuine needs. The one-size-fits-all approach is, at best, a stop-gap solution and at worst, a big waste of time and resources.
Instead of importing software that is bug-ridden and conflictive, try to integrate existing systems to enhance the interoperability of parts. That way, your business becomes better equipped to face the burgeoning challenges of tomorrow.
The hard lesson is not to settle for mediocrity but to integrate systems to deliver customizable solutions that genuinely fulfill customer intent.