Enterprises use SaaS, ERPs and CRM tools for multiple purposes ranging from managing their day to day operations to servicing their customers. These tools have dashboards, admin panels and a vast amount of data coming in from different platforms and apps. The problem is: how does one get the data syncing between all these different tools?

This becomes especially tricky if different teams and users rely on different applications and tools. How often is time wasted importing or exporting a CSV files from a different tool / reports? Though it reduces efforts it’s still time consuming and cumbersome.

Integrating disjointed software solutions is one of the most common challenges companies are currently facing. Most applications are not connected with each other, resulting in little islands of data.

Luckily, there’s a wide range of possible solutions when it comes to better integrating the company’s tools, applications, and data. In this piece, we’ll cover the basics of how software integrations work, and more importantly, how they can make life a whole lot easier.

What is software integration?

Integration refers to the process of combining two pieces of software in order to solve the problem of isolated data.

3 things to consider during software integration?

Before starting the process software integration one has to take following points into consideration:

1. What type of software will you integrate?

Though big companies often create in-house software, they are increasingly adopting Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. This type of tool enables them to manage particular business processes without hassle.

Smaller businesses usually go directly for SaaS, preferring cloud-based applications that can scale with their business. There are also some pre-built enterprise integration software one can consider for smaller applications or purposes.

Regardless of the size of the business, if one is using and working with in-house software and there is need to integrate; a team of software integration engineers will be needed to help out with the necessary software architecture to integrate.

Cloud-based business applications are a bit easier to integrate. Most of them make their Application Programming Interface (API) public, which expands your possibilities to integrate.

2. Which integration software do you need?

Let’s consider APIs. The API of an app is like a series of map directions for the program. Some applications use APIs to create a direct link between two or more applications. This type of integration in software is know as: native or in-app integrations.

Native integrations are created by the software engineers behind applications to shift their own data to another app. This enables developers to create an integration within the environment of the app you are using. This removes the need open a new tab to get started.

The problem is that building such direct links for integration takes a lot of time and effort. Plus, it’s impossible to have native integrations between every app out there.

That’s where Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) step in.

iPaaS are fully dedicated to finding the best way to connect disparate software. They are basically the glue that keeps your entire software stack together.

When multiple tools or applications are being used, an iPaaS becomes necessary. Teams working with different databases are rarely aligned towards the same goal. An iPaaS makes it possible to make the customer data consistent for everyone who has access to it.

Most iPaaS offer a one-way integration. That means pushing data from app A to app B. In two-way integration, which actually keeps your different databases in sync; whenever you update something in either one of the apps, you’ll see that change available in the other one.

3. Which type of data needs integration?

When we talk about data, we can be referring to numbers, people, companies, products … any entity! To set up an integration, you need to identify which part of the two or more databases make sense to combine.

Since data comes in any shape or form, each one of the applications will categorize it using their own terms. For instance, an CRM has a database with information about the “contacts” and “companies”. On another case, the invoicing app can have a database full of “clients,” “banking” and “expenses.”

If we can add other apps to the integration, such as the customer support tool, marketing app, sales app etc., the result would be a 360-degree view of the customers from their in-bound journey to their billing.

Wrapping Up

If you are using in-house software, you’ll need an ad-hoc solution. Even if there’s an enterprise integration software that suits your needs, but you might need help from a team of integration experts. Also probably there won’t be a need to integrate every single element of from databases – there must be a logic behind it.


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