Isolated information within companies is one of the great villains of modern businesses. The ever-increasing amount of data generated by businesses ends up being siloed in different locations, departments, and software used throughout an organization. This delays decision-making, slows down workflows, and ends up masking many problems and sometimes many solutions too.
It is very easy to imagine this type of a problem in large companies that operate globally and have dozens of IT systems. However, this is also a real problem for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) as well. Obviously, an SMB will not have the same financial strength as a large enterprise. Therefore, how can one resolve this issue without going bankrupt?
Nowadays, it is possible to find integration solutions that can serve companies of all sizes. Integration products allow a simplified visualization of a company’s data–facilitating quick decision-making and allowing faster and more assertive route correction. By solving the issue of information silos, SMBs have the resources to compete head-to-head with the big players.
How the right integration solution can help an SMB
A survey by Experian shows that 83% of companies believe that data is an extremely important part of building a good business strategy. Another key point is the quality of this data.
It is vital that the data is accurate; however, it is often difficult to maintain data integrity as we use a variety of applications. It is essential to have a range of applications to run a business, but new systems and applications bring more complexity to information management. As a business grows, more applications are used, and more complexity is added to the equation.
Another survey by Blissfully estimates that the number of applications an SMB uses nearly doubles when that company moves from the 1-100 employee category to 101-1000 employees.
So, let's look how the right integration solution can help an SMB overcome these challenges.
The IT resources required to implement, maintain, and update different software bring about high costs for companies. As mentioned before, ensuring data integrity across multiple platforms is not only costly but also extremely complicated. You may have experience where important processes are controlled in spreadsheets and then checked against department systems. In such an instance, the possibility of human error is increased, and errors generate more costs.
Most believe that an SMB cannot even consider an integration solution owing to high costs; this is not true. The good news is that this has changed a lot in recent years. Evolution is constant. In the past, performing an integration was quite complicated as it required custom code and this complexity and the cost of it made integrations prohibitive for SMBs. Fortunately, integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) solutions are a reality today.
Improve customer experiences
More and more, customers are looking for companies that deliver better experiences regardless of company size. This means SMBs can compete with large corporations and the phrase “information is power” has never been more real. It is difficult for an SMB to compete if systems are not integrated and information is spread across different systems.
With an effective integration solution in place, you can choose which interface your team will work with. However, having access to any information consolidated in one place is necessary for your work. This means that your team can have immediate answers to solve any doubts or problems your client has. The customer success team will be able to give feedback more quickly on an open call, can check the financial information, and see if they have a team available to serve the customer if necessary. All this information will be found in one place. For example, a salesperson can track where the customer's order is or if there is an item in stock in a store in another city, and see which warehouse the merchandise can leave to reach the consumer more quickly.
Integrating systems will make it easier to see the entire end-to-end process. Thus, it is possible to practically predict what customers want, when they want it, and how they want it. By integrating your company's software, you become much more agile and can deliver a desirable experience for your customers.
In an SMB, team members typically wear a number of hats. It is necessary to compete with and deliver with the same quality as the big companies, with much less manpower. That means your team doesn't have time to manually input data from one system to another. Also, you cannot afford to lose a sale or the closure of a project due to human errors.
The right integration solution drastically reduces the execution time of tasks, which were done manually before, overloaded the team, and made the whole process more fragile and susceptible to errors. In addition, integration makes information readily available on any system within the company. An update of information in one place will be automatically replicated in all the systems. Integrating not only speeds up the entire process, but also prevents a multitude of errors.
SMBs need an integration solution and they need it now
Software integration isn't just for big companies or is applicable when your business reaches a certain size or complexity. If you use multiple applications that use shared data—whether it's email, company information, or any other data—integration is relevant.
It is also worth starting integrations as early as possible within the company. Connecting all your solutions and allowing data to flow smoothly and easily will give small and midsize businesses a platform to develop and sustain in the long term, whether they scale or not.
Always remember that data is becoming more and more important and the best way to take control of your business is to have a reliable integration offering in place, which will enable a single source of reliable information.
If you want more details about an integration platform as a service (IPaaS) solution and want to see one in action, please visit Choreo, a comprehensive platform for low-code, cloud-native engineering. Our next-gen offering gives organizations a single, all-inclusive platform for creating and managing integrations, services, and APIs—allowing you to go from idea to production in hours.