In today’s world of systems integration in the corporate landscape, one-click integration is the holy grail! There are two sides to this coin, an executive’s perspective and an implementer’s, which might be very different! In this post, we’ll look at this from an executive’s perspective. We will look at what, why, and how aspects of one-click integration and steps & considerations to get justifiable business ROI through integration.
Today’s average corporations are replete with a multitude of technologies: ERP Systems, CRM, Accounting, Marketing Systems, POS, Web Applications, Data Repositories & Warehouses, and the list goes on and on. All types of businesses rely on real-time data to understand their current financial, operational, and market position. Therefore, it is a race by business leaders to obtain meaningful business data in the fastest and most efficient way. According to Forbes, one of the largest challenges that most organizations are facing is the disparate data sources and lack of skills to aggregate/integrate data and distribute meaningful data with integrity.
Smart Integration/Business intelligence tools are able to handle this effectively through off-the-shelf adapters with minimal custom coding, to enable quicker time to implementation and activation. Executives need to ensure that internal and external technical staff are not only able to support the current systems/tools of the organization, but also have sufficient acumen to support new tools in the marketplace. Change is constant and so is the requirement to stay up with newer technologies.
What is one-click integration? It can be loosely defined as the ability to automate all or most of a company’s business systems that can be triggered by a single click from an authorized person of the company. For example, all of a company’s accounting postings, expense processing, and reconciliation can happen with a single click from the head of accounting at the end of the month. In summary, one-click integration is a very advanced stage of integration which represents a high maturity of automation level in a given enterprise with minimal human intervention, resulting in huge operational efficiencies and productivity gains.
DIKW pyramid provides a good model for Data, Intelligence, Knowledge, and Wisdom. Data integration falls into the Knowledge layer, by synthesizing data/information from multiple sources, and presenting it through intuitive dashboards to provide the Wisdom that executives need to make smart, informed decisions for their products/services.
Why one-click integration? Now that we understand what it is, let’s get to the biggest question for executives: Does systems integration provide sustained ROI year after year? In other words, why should integration be an integral part of my corporate business strategy? Does the annual spend make up for identifiable data capture and decision-making benefits both in hard dollar and soft dollar terms?
Data can provide insights that help you answer your key business questions such as ‘How can I improve customer satisfaction?’ – Forbes
Over the last decade, organizations of all sizes have come to increasingly depend on real-time, reliable data to support decision making, without which, your business will be at an extreme strategic disadvantage regardless of your industry or company size. A compelling reason for Data integration is that it is virtually impossible for any executive to make good business decisions without a 360-degree visual view of critical systems data. For example, an accounting system (e.g. QBO) can never provide a comprehensive view of the month-end financial results without integrating with the expense management system (e.g. Expensify). Smart integration platforms like snapLogic , Zapier and others provide rapid integration capabilities using a variety of on-premise or cloud-based applications to bring real-time data to the end-user devices. Some key KPIs that get enriched by a good integration strategy include increased productivity, decreased human errors, improved customer satisfaction, and increased operational efficiencies.
How do we approach one-click integration? Next, let’s look at the important practical considerations that decision-makers need to keep in mind for the implementation of effective integration strategies.
- Management Buy-in: Ensure that integration has management & leadership buy-in before starting the implementation
- Data timing: It is important to get the data timing right (daily/hourly/real-time) from the get-go, rather than as an after-thought
- Data/Visualization Tools: Selecting the right tool is very critical, and should be done through hands-on prototyping, to prove capabilities
- Data sources: Understand the data sources, protocols and formats thoroughly for effectively integrating using minimal custom effort
- Data integrity: No integration effort is useful if the integrity of integrated data is in question. So it is imperative to ascertain data integrity through proper design and validation
- Data security: Right data to the right person – A good integration implementation always includes security at the heart of design, to ensure the integrated data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands
Createch’s goal is to provide one-click integration through streamlined automation and real-time meaningful data that executives can review and use to make intelligent decisions. Informed decisions based on reliable data and KPIs allow for sustainable business practices and allows organizations to achieve strategic advantage over market competitors in the long run.