PUTTING YOUR PIN IN THE SOFTWARE INTEGRATION MAP
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is becoming the deployment model of choice for organizations in search of accessibility, functionality, and versatility in a fast-moving, digital-first business environment.
As a result, the adoption of Software-as-a-Service delivered from public and private cloud services is increasing exponentially. Gartner predicts that spending on public cloud services will surpass $6Bn this year (2023) making it the de facto operating environment for businesses seeking the economic and competitive advantages it can deliver. A huge proportion of this growth is being driven by the increasing usage of ‘off the shelf’ software applications that address either generic needs like workplace productivity or specific vertical market needs like a GP surgery or clothing retailer.
These are also developing and changing at an accelerating rate as artificial Intelligence, advanced ML capabilities, low or no-coding capabilities, big data analytics and the new business models they enable make an impact.
These transformations promise a future of robust, flexible, and highly valuable software solutions that deliver far reaching improvements in business productivity, resilience and collaboration.
But how do you map your path to that future? Where do you start and where are the points of greatest interest and value on your journey?
Here at FuseGenie® we have been working with our partners and customers to analyse the software integration landscape and its features – good and bad – to visualise an ‘atlas’ of modern business applications and how to navigate it for the greatest advantage from an integration perspective.
Our experience has shown that software application integration provides significant benefits to a variety of functional areas and roles within a modern business.
- Sales and Marketing: Integrated CRM and prospecting tools like HubSpot and Apollo.io can give sales and marketing teams a unified view of customer information and interactions. This can lead to more effective targeted marketing campaigns, personalized customer interactions, and improved sales strategies.
- Finance and Accounting: Financial software integration such as Xero and payments solutions like Stripe can streamline operations like invoice processing, tax calculations, payroll, and budgeting. The real-time data they generate can help in accurate financial forecasting and reporting when integrated with Business Intelligence tools like Tableau.
- Human Resources (HR): HR software integration can automate tasks such as payroll processing, applicant tracking, performance reviews, and benefits management, freeing up HR personnel to focus more on strategic tasks and driving greater employee engagement and satisfaction.
- Operations and Supply Chain Management: Integration of inventory management, procurement, logistics, and operations systems, particularly with external providers and partners can ensure smooth flow of information, reducing delays, minimizing errors, improving efficiency and allowing customers and partners to stay informed.
- Customer Service and Support: Integration of helpdesk software with other business systems (such as CRM or sales platforms) provides customer service representatives with comprehensive customer information, enabling them to provide better and quicker resolutions to issues and to pro-actively identify and address opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling in their customer base.
- Project Management: Integrated project management tools can improve team collaboration, resource allocation, task tracking, and overall project efficiency while allowing clearer communication with project sponsors and stakeholders across the business or in a collaborative partnership.
- IT and Systems Management: Integrated IT management software can provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s IT infrastructure, making it easier to manage, maintain, and secure. With the widely recognised shortage of technical skills in the market today, the use of integration and automation approaches to schedule, manage and assure the most important IT tasks can be a significant advantage to both the Managed Service Providers who deliver business solutions and the customers and partners they serve.
You may feel you know instinctively where the greatest need for improved integration and automation exists in your business today. If so great – we need to talk! If you are not so sure it might be helpful to take a closer look at a location in the software integration ‘atlas’ which is close to our hearts here at FuseGenie® – Sales and Marketing.
Software integration can be immensely beneficial for the Sales and Marketing team in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven marketplace. We found 9 good reasons why:
- Streamlining Business Processes: These days the definition of ‘Sales’ is getting quite inclusive and a little blurred at the edges. From Top of Funnel to closing and ongoing customer success it’s a more diverse team than ever before and it needs to co-operate across multiple systems for CRM, sales tracking, email marketing, communication, and more. All too often on our travels we have seen such teams, resorting to spreadsheets for these needs. When this team are properly integrated, they can manage all their critical tasks within a single virtual platform, increasing productivity and enhancing everyone’s experience.
- Enhanced Customer Understanding: Integration also provides a fully unified view of customer information, such as interaction history, purchase habits, preferences, and issues. The whole team can use this information to provide personalized solutions and improve customer relationships. The ability to record and analyse digital interactions that has evolved in platforms like MS Teams has only added to this capability and brought additional integration needs.
- Effective Time Management: Automating tasks with software integration reduces the time spent on repetitive activities like customer behaviour tracking, data entry and meeting notes. This allows salespeople to focus more on prospecting, building relationships and closing deals.
- Accurate Sales Forecasting: Integrated software systems provide real-time data and analytics, which salespeople can use not just for accurate sales forecasting but for daily activity planning that is targeted on the right prospects at the right time. This information can help them identify trends, make informed decisions, and plan effective strategies to address gaps and build effective account plans.
- Improved Communication: Integration enables better internal communication and collaboration, which is vital for sales teams. For instance, with integrated software, a salesperson can easily share customer information with the support team to ensure seamless service. These integrations can do a lot to break down siloes and bring the insights and value that the Finance and Project Implementation teams can bring to the process. Sales today is a multi-dimensional discipline and need to act that way.
- Enhanced Mobility: The average person checks their phone 58 times a day, according to a study by RescueTime. For people whose work involves a lot of on-the-go communication, including salespeople, this number could potentially be higher. Most integrated software solutions offer dedicated mobile access and functionality on smartphones and tablets. This is extremely beneficial for salespeople who are often on the go, allowing them to access crucial data anytime, anywhere.
- Better Reporting: With data from different sources combined in one place, salespeople can generate reports that give a more holistic view of their performance, market conditions, or customer behaviour. Today’s business intelligence tools use a combination of machine learning and data visualisation to greatly simplify the analysis and presentation of complex data and a comprehensive approach to the integration of data-generating apps in the business is crucial.
- Data Integrity: As we already mentioned, todays sales function is multi-disciplinary and diverse, meaning a lot more people have an interest in and a touchpoint on the data. Software integration reduces the chance of data duplication or inconsistency, ensuring the data used by the extended team is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date.
- Cost-effectiveness: Using properly integrated sales and marketing systems proves to be cost-effective in the long run as it can reduce the highly likely probability of multiple, unplanned and unexpected software subscriptions in each area of activity and the associated maintenance, upgrade and training costs that go with them.
These are the sorts of impacts and benefits we see time and time again when we engage with our customers, regardless of where they first focus our attention in their business.
Remember, however, that effective integration and its long term benefits require careful planning, implementation, and training to ensure that your teams can effectively use the resulting expanded system and that your whole business – its people, customers and partners – can reap the potential benefits.
How does FuseGenie® help?
Wherever you are starting in your software integration journey, FuseGenie® believes that successful navigation to your destination is measured by your ability to deliver greater value to your people, your customers and your partners.
Our proven integration and automation platform, combined with our trademark magic, enables us to deliver integrated solutions to technology partner-led businesses that are greater than the sum of their parts, helping to drive broader growth and new market opportunities.
8 WAYS TO DELIVER MORE POWERFUL CHANNELS AND ALLIANCES IN A CLOUD-FIRST WORLD
Todays IT ecosystem is a complex web of partnerships, alliances and channel relationships between a wide range of participants, acting in concert to deliver the business outcomes sought by their mutual customers.
This is increasingly characterised by the growth of cloud infrastructure and adoption of public cloud, with the size of the cloud infrastructure market growing 130.7% from a value of US$107.1 billion at the end of 2019 to US$247.1 billion at the end of 2022. *
Tied to this surge in cloud adoption has been an even greater growth in the wider ecosystem of partners and platforms surrounding these cloud environments. The multiplier revenues created by these cloud deployments are spread across a number of different ecosystem partners, with managed service providers, telcos, systems integrators and value-added resellers at the heart of this market transformation. These in turn are supported by a proliferation of software applications and platforms, either of their own or sourced from third party providers.
Not only have these relationships driven a significant increase in the range and type of services delivered as a result of the digital transformation growth of the early 2020s, this breadth of services means that they have become the trusted advisors for many businesses looking to benefit from the shift to cloud and the software applications explosion.
But they don’t do it alone.
Software integrations can help you lead the way to better partnerships
Its clear that partnerships and alliances play a critical role in delivering modern information technology solutions by fostering collaboration, innovation, and market expansion. They bring together the expertise, resources, and capabilities of different organizations to create more comprehensive and effective solutions for customers.
As these organizations come to depend more and more on the use of targeted software applications and platforms as the ‘operating system’ of their business there is a corresponding focus on making tighter integration possible between partner-oriented business models.
Distributors want to provide frictionless commerce and support services to VARs. Telcos want to offer transparent and timely billing across complex multi-product offers. Software providers want to ensure the best possible experience to their customers. It’s a software-driven world and you need to not just exist in it but thrive in it.
A software integration strategy plays a crucial role in developing indirect sales channels and alliances by fostering mutually beneficial relationships, expanding market reach, and enhancing the value proposition of the products involved.
Here is how;
- Building partnerships: Integrations enable you to form strategic partnerships with complementary businesses, creating a network of alliances that benefit both parties. These partnerships can lead to cross-promotions, joint marketing efforts, and co-selling, ultimately expanding the customer base for all involved.
- Expanding market reach: When your offers are integrated with popular or widely used platforms, they gain exposure to a broader audience. This expanded market reach can result in increased sales opportunities and the potential to enter new markets or industry verticals.
- Enhancing product value proposition: By integrating with complementary tools and platforms, your products and platforms become more valuable to end-users, as they can address a wider range of needs and use cases. This enhanced value proposition can make your solution more appealing to indirect sales channels, such as resellers, distributors, or agents, who want to offer comprehensive solutions to their customers.
- Simplifying customer decision-making: Customers prefer solutions that are compatible with their existing technology stack. By adopting a robust integration strategy, you can simplify the decision-making process for customers and make it more likely for indirect sales channels to recommend your products.
- Strengthening brand reputation: Integrating with well-known, reputable platforms or tools can lend credibility to your product or service and improve its perceived quality. This enhanced brand reputation can attract more partners, as they are more likely to associate themselves with strong brands.
- Leveraging partner expertise: Forming alliances through software integrations can help you tap into the expertise and resources of your partners, such as sales and marketing know-how or technical support. This can strengthen the overall sales process and help scale your business more effectively.
- Streamlined support and training: Integrations can simplify the support and training processes for indirect sales channels, as they may already be familiar with the integrated tools or platforms. This can make it easier for you and your partners to assist customers and provide effective training, ultimately improving the end-user experience.
- Encouraging long-term relationships: Software integrations foster long-term relationships between technology providers and their partners, as they work together to improve their products, address customer needs, and explore new opportunities for collaboration.
By adopting a software integration strategy, you can strengthen your network of partnerships and alliances, increasing sales opportunities, improving product and platform value and satisfaction, and expanding market presence.