Nowadays, businesses have access to several specialty software platforms. However, not all platforms come with integration capabilities. These software platforms may offer many new features and benefits, but the lack of integration could cause inefficiencies in an organization.
Here’s how you can manage the successful integration of your software platforms:
Pick the right software
What are the functionalities you need in your software? Once you are clear about the features that must be there in your software, you can look for products that meet your requirements. Data access, off-shelf integration, dashboard, and reporting are some important features that you should have in your software.
You should also understand the pricing methodology for different software products. For some, the pricing may be based on the number of transactions or users. Some may be designed for implementation in large-scale enterprises, which means that you may need to pay configuration costs besides the annual or monthly fees.
Getting recommendations from people you know can also be very helpful in picking the right software product.
Determine the system of record
A key aspect of planning integration is to determine the system of record for data. If you are using multiple platforms, it may be possible that a couple or all of them capture the same data. You will need to determine which will be the primary source that you will use to maintain the information. If you choose a single source, you should also be able to either prevent others from updating the information or ensure that the updated information is shared across platforms. In case multiple systems are updating the same information, you should ensure that only the last update is captured.
Ensure consistent and timely data-sharing
Not integrating platforms causes dissociated systems, which can lead to poor customer experience. For instance, a customer schedules an appointment at an organization. However, if the scheduling platform is not integrated with the CRM, it could result in the organization calling or mailing the client again and again.
The type of integration you need depends on your business processes. For instance, if you run a monthly email marketing campaign, it may not be necessary to integrate your order entry and CRM platforms. However, if you use shipping software, it must immediately be updated if a change of address happens on the order entry system.
If you want the expected results and benefits from your software platform integrations, your employees must be trained on the new systems. Your employees are the ones that contact customers, take orders, and more. However, if they are not aware of which platforms to use, you will not get the return you expected from the platforms.
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