Without software applications the average office wouldn’t get much work done. They’re vital for things like accounting, customer relationship management, and communicating internally and externally electronically.
The average office uses 16 cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) applications, and that doesn’t include the non-cloud software they may use.
That’s a lot of moving parts collecting and outputting data to keep your business running smoothly and if they’re not communicating with each other effectively, it can mean inefficiencies that slow you down and stifle growth.
Every week New Zealand companies come to Ion Technologies asking for help with software integration and automation to assist them with doing more in less time and reduce costs. We work with them on custom solutions to get their applications on speaking terms, increasing their overall business efficiency.
Why is software integration so important in today’s fast-paced, app-driven business world? We’ll go over the top cost-saving benefits to small and mid-sized companies and how automation is the natural partner of software integration.
When you have different applications that don’t communicate and share data it’s a disadvantage for your company in a number of ways, all of them costly. At Ion Technologies, we’ve found that cost efficiency is a key reason companies are looking for software integration solutions.
When you have to re-key information or work in disconnected software, some of those costly inevitabilities include the following.
If you need to manually update customer information from your CRM program to your accounting program it could result in costly re-keying errors, such as invoicing at the wrong discount or sending a bill to the wrong client.
An example of a costly manual entry mistake comes from a UK government agency that reported a company called “Taylor & Sons Ltd” was pending liquidation, when the actual company name was “Taylor & Son Ltd” without the “S.” That one letter error cost the agency nearly $14 million in damages to the company they mistakenly named.
Software integration allows data to flow from one application to another, significantly reducing error rates due to manual entry.
How many hours a week is data entry taking your staff? While you may think, “It only takes 5 minutes to re-enter that lead data into another program,” add that up by the number of leads you have weekly or monthly and it can be hours wasted that a simple software integration and automation could save.
If you’re having to manually input email addresses from your website form into an email marketing program, miss one letter and your message isn’t being delivered to their inbox. This could lead to missed sales opportunities simply because you’re not following up with the regular marketing that turns a lead into a paying customer.
Your cost per customer acquisition is an important data metric in any organization. You don’t want to spend so much acquiring a client that it’s eating into your profit margin.
The time it’s taking to re-enter data into various software and having to go back to correct any keying mistakes can significantly increase your cost per acquisition without you even being aware of it.
If you’re still handing data the same way you did a decade or two ago, it’s going to be difficult to keep up with your more automated competition. Finding cost savings in efficiencies like software integration and automation can give you the financial boost you need to invest in other areas of your business to help it thrive and grow.
The key partner of software integration is business process automation because once you have your software speaking to each other, you can take manual tasks and automate them.
For example, if your sales team has to manually look at which clients have overdue quotes in your accounting system, then manually enter them in their sales platform for follow ups, that ‘s a lot of extra time they’re not in front a customer.
An automation could automatically send an alert from the accounting software to the sales platform when a quote is past 30 days, so they instantly know who to follow up with and when.
Between 10% - 20% of employee work hours are spent on manual, repetitive tasks. (Towards Data Science)
In a nutshell, automation helps you do more in less time, reduce mistakes, and become a more streamlined and efficient operation.
Comprehensive steps towards integrating your applications to communicate efficiently include:
List out all the different software you use
Prioritize the integrations according to which are most important
Decide on which platform(s) you’ll use for the integrations
Choose metrics with which to measure integration success
Begin implementation according to priority
Add in process automations
Train staff on new workflows
If transforming your office with software integration and automation seems daunting, we can make it simple and painless. Ion Technologies takes a measured and client-centric approach, and we’ll help you with the right integrations that will mean the most to your particular business.