What Are Business Integrations & How Can They Help Your Organization?

Dec 9, 2020 8:59:19 AM

By Cathy Cain-Blank

Are you sick of having to copy your data from one location and paste it into another? Do you find it cumbersome to export data from one file and import it into another tool on an ongoing basis?

If you’ve ever wished all (or even some) of your business applications were interconnected, you’re not alone. Many businesses struggle to effectively and efficiently manage the data and information they gather and maintain about their customers and prospects, regardless of their trade.

The solution? Business integrations.

Business integrations help you connect one piece of software to another so that your data and information rests in both locations – as needed – without anyone having to manually re-enter data.

According to research by HubSpot, 17% of salespersons mention lack of integration with other tools as a critical challenge when using their existing CRM. From enhancing productivity and improving customer service to evaluating customer interactions, business integrations can help your business grow in different ways.

Let’s discuss what business integrations are and how your organization can benefit from them.

What Are Business Integrations?

Integrations connect software so they can share data and information with one another. They are developed on application programming interfaces (APIs), and allow a quick flow of information between applications (cloud-based or on-premises). Some integrations move in one direction – Software A and Software B are integrated, and the data in Software B dumps automatically into Software A every night. Other integrations work in both directions. Some integrations are native or built into a piece of software, while others are created using other tools and platforms.

Why Should Businesses Use Integrations?

As businesses grow and evolve, integrations will help when you begin to use new software and applications. They allow you to use your current systems while connecting them to new third-party applications. Not only this, but integrations also enhance the functionality of your current systems by connecting them to new applications for automation and additional features. 

Who Should Use Integrations?

Integrations can help all types of businesses, irrespective of their industry and size. There are integrations for: 

  • Enterprise organizations
  • Small businesses
  • Midsize enterprise
  • Startups

Moreover, if you sell software, you will need integrations not just for your internal systems but also for your clients to use with your systems. This is because your clients may need their internal systems to work with your software and your software alone may not be enough to serve their purpose.

How Can Integrations Impact Business Operations?

Integrations can serve a wide range of purposes, including: 

  • Addressing customers’ needs quickly
  • Allowing you to access information about your contacts in one place
  • Enriching data to provide more meaningful conversations with customers
  • Helping deepen relationships with prospects
  • Providing employees with access to data they didn’t have previously
  • Complementing the way teams operate and interact with one another
  • Automating manual tasks

How And Where Can You Get Integrations?

Chances are you already use software that gives you integrations to use to enhance the software. Here are a few examples: 

  • If you use Constant Contact to send email campaigns, and you sell products online using Shopify, by setting up the integration between the two software tools you automatically send an Abandoned Shopping Cart Email created in Constant Contact to Shopify visitors who don’t complete their purchase. 
  • If you use HubSpot’s Sales Tools and QuickBooks Online, by integrating the programs, invoices can be “dumped” into your HubSpot CRM for your sales people to more easily keep tabs on customers’ past purchases. (This kind of integration is useful for companies whose sales teams don’t have access to QuickBooks/financial records.)

 Along with accessing integrations through programs you are already using, there are companies like Zapier, PieSync, and Automate.io that equip you to connect different applications. If you use BambooHR, for instance (an online human resources software) and you also use Gmail, you can connect the two programs. 

What Is the Difference Between Integrations and iPaaS?

iPaaS is also known as Integration Platform as a Service. Integrations and iPaaS are not the same, and you must know the difference between both to pick the right option for your business.

 An integration is a one-to-one connection where two applications connect with each other. iPaaS is a cloud-enabled platform that connects different applications and systems (cloud or on-premise) but no middleware is involved. In simple words, iPaaS is a platform that can help businesses build and deploy integrations in the cloud and between the cloud and the enterprise.

If you spend too much time toggling between programs and wish there were a way to manage your data more efficiently, chances are there is and it involves an integration. If you would benefit from a conversation about integrations, we're happy to help. Please reach out.