If you believe that every organization deserves access to best-in-breed digital tools to help it run more efficiently and profitably, and if you view certain apps as indispensable to the success of your organization and its people, then it’s time to take a closer look at integrations.
Digital transformation promises to bolster visibility, operational insight, efficiency, collaboration, productivity, and, ultimately, competitiveness and profitability. Integrations are key to helping organizations maximize those benefits. They are the connections that enable disparate software systems to function as a single unit, seamlessly interacting and sharing information with one another without compromising functionality or data quality — and without requiring extra steps or development work by the user.
Integrations can be a powerful force inside an organization, eliminating silos and providing the means to monitor, manage and get more competitive value from projects, processes and data. Instead of relying on disparate applications to clunkily manage critical functions like payroll, inventory and customer relationship management (CRM), and living with the resulting visibility gaps and inefficiencies, organizations can use pre-built application connectors to create a single, enterprise-wide digital ecosystem that consistently generates data-derived insight to drive long-term business growth.
Drawing from extensive experience building integrations and watching them work for enterprise clients, here are four suggestions to guide your organization along the integrations pathway:
Build your integrations around a foundational piece like ERP. What is your organization’s most fundamentally essential business application? This application — for many businesses, it’s the ERP system — should be the hub with which other applications integrate. Data, information and insight moves throughout the organization via the ERP and the integrations connected to it.
Seek out open, modern integrations that are simple, seamless to implement and cover the entire enterprise. Time to go integrations shopping! Not all integrations are created equal, however. What you want is an open platform for integrations and automations, one that gives you all the pieces to create a fully integrated digital ecosystem. Beware antiquated point-to-point integrations, which can be costly, involve multiple vendors and require unnecessary development. The goal here is simplification, not complication. Look for integrations that come secure and ready to implement at scale. They’re more likely to deliver an accelerated time to value.
Prioritize integrations that increase automation and productivity. With many organizations hyper-focused on capturing operational efficiencies, integrations can help do exactly that by automating processes across an enterprise. So for example, the hand-off of a new project from business development to project management could be completely automated and seamless — not driven by multiple emails, spreadsheets and double entry. Increased automation within systems, processes and software relieves people of redundant tasks and frees them to focus on higher-value pursuits.
Seek out integrations that enhance collaboration. Collaboration yields innovation. Integrations should enable your teams to work off a single source of truth and around a central set of KPIs, while also providing channels and a common set of tools to connect and share insight in real-time.
Intrigued about integrations and how they can help your business? This white paper from Unanet explores the subject in-depth.
About the author
Assad Jarrahian is Chief Product Officer at Unanet, which develops digital enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for government contractors and architecture, engineering and construction firms