What the hell are integrated solutions?
Just how you’ll manage your business in the future...
Integration is the end game objective for any business, serious about simplifying processes, managing costs and maximising both opportunities and profitability.
It is about using technology wisely to connect the types of applications you use in your business into a unified business & work-flow management solution.
In the past this level of integration was beyond the scope of many SME’s because of cost, complexity and the infrastructural requirements of such legacy systems. Today however with cloud based computing, the Internet, the rapid changes in technology and the rise of really good open source applications. All of the barriers that once keep the SME out of the Enterprise level sandbox have all but disappeared.
While the benefits of integrated systems to the SME user continue to increase with time, chief among these are;
- » Leveling the competitive playground
- » Agility in service offerings
- » Better lead, referral and opportunity management
- » Sales Process Automation
- » Workforce Mobility
- » Workforce Accountability (productivity gains)
- » Customer Service Gains
- » Rich Data and Business Intelligence
- » Reduced IT infrastructural costs
- » Healthier Bottom Line Results
- » Live analytics and reporting
In it's simplest terms, integrated systems connect the dots along your business process in such a way that it enables you (and your staff) to do more of the things that drive revenue & less of the things that don't.
A simple example of integration
A very simple example of integration would be a 'request for quote' form sent from a website that feeds into the database of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The CRM then logs the request and inputs all the form data into the appropriate database. It sends back an email to the prospect and assigns the request to a salesperson as a task for completion.
The illustration above, shows just a small selection of the types of applications that can be linked together to create a unified business management toolbox. Integrated systems work on a very simple system of requests, actions & triggers. Every request requires an action, when the action is taken (or not taken within a specified time) it fires a trigger which leads to the next request - And so on and so forth until the desired result or outcome of the process is reached.
When should a business move to an integrated solution?
You should look at integration from the get-go if you’re just launching the business, or if you are starting to grow... The investment in an integrated solution could save having to hire someone in the admin role, allowing for a sales role to be created instead.
For other businesses we would say, “now is good” - but we realise most business people are practical with an if it ain’t broke don’t fit it approach to things. So we would suggest you plan for a point before what you have breaks.
You don’t have to do it all at once!
The great thing about integration is that you don’t have to do it all at once... You start with your websites content management system (CMS), analytics and enquiry forms. Then move into the process from there, one step at a time.
We can help you to plan, deploy & manage the integration of; Content Management Solutions (CMS) - Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - Email Marketing - Project Management - Accounting - e Commerce - Sales-force Automation to name a few.