Gartner predicts that by 2023, organizations that promote data sharing will outperform their peers on most business value metrics. According to Debra Logan, Gartner’s Research Vice President, “Data sharing is the way to optimize higher quality data and more robust data and analytics to solve business challenges and goals.” Given these numbers, it is clear that businesses will need to embrace application software integration as a core business strategy. There are several pros and cons to this strategy, which we’ll discuss below. Carefully evaluating these factors can help you determine how best to approach information integration for your company. 

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Table of Contents

  1. Types of Data Integration
  2. Application Software Integration Advantages
  3. Application Software Integration Disadvantages
  4. How Xplenty Can Help Streamline Software Integration

Types of Data Integration

There are several strategies for integrating information, each of which provides the same outcome: putting business information in the hands of those who need it for informed decision-making.

Consolidation

Consolidation is what most people think of when discussing integration. Consolidation is the process of taking information from multiple sources and unifying it into a central location.

Propagation

Propagation doesn’t combine the information in the way consolidation does. Instead, propagation copies it between the systems that might need it. 

Federation

On the surface, federation looks similar to consolidation. However, the federation is a virtualization technique that takes information from multiple sources and makes it accessible from one central location. The information is never consolidated, but rather kept separate until the user makes a request for it.

Xplenty’s suite of application integrations makes it easy to merge, propagate, and share information across a variety of your key business systems. 

Application Software Integration Advantages

The same Gartner study showed that “Data sharing is an important KPI and a business necessity. It accelerates digital business transformation.” Companies that have business-facing key performance indicators (KPIs) are 1.7 times more likely to be effective at consistently producing clear business value. Here are a few additional advantages to integration.

Increased Productivity

Integrating applications help improve employee productivity. With the information in one system, employees won’t need to re-key the same information across multiple systems. They will also not need to constantly navigate separate systems to find what they need to perform their job.

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Better Customer Service

Customer data integration (CDI) is collecting customer behavior from various sources and combining it so it's easily shareable with all departments. The result is a source of data, also known as a 360-degree customer view, that can help provide a better customer experience. A consolidated customer information strategy helps companies:

  • Perform more targeted marketing.
  • Gain predictive insight for future sales potentials.
  • Identify loyal customers.
  • Improve customer service.

More Meaningful Information for Decision-Making

To create a sustainable competitive advantage, CEOs should invest in analytics as a core capability within the organization. This includes a firm commitment to source trustworthy data from each of its business systems. Information is more meaningful when it is pulled together in one system so that it can be analyzed for trends and conclusions can be drawn much quicker.

Improved Data Accuracy

Research by Gartner has found that, on average, bad data costs businesses 30% or more of their revenue. When employees are forced to duplicate data across multiple systems, the risk for human error increases. And with human error come inaccuracies. Integrating information into a single view reduces the risk of duplicate or inaccurate data. 

Xplenty can help promote accuracy and support meaningful decision-making through integrations with several key business tools including SalesforceZendeskHubSpotMailChimp, and more.

Application Software Integration Disadvantages

While the advantages to integration are plenty, there are a few disadvantages that should not be ignored. Although these items do present challenges, they can be managed and should not pose a hindrance to a successful application software integration strategy.

Security Risks

Integrating data from several systems create new security vulnerabilities. As data moves through new gateways between systems, it creates weak points that could be exploited by hackers. Companies will need to take additional steps to secure data in transit.

Challenges Performing Upgrades

Integrating several systems doesn’t just turn them into one system. It merely ties them together. Upgrades and maintenance still need to happen within each individual system. If all the systems are under your company’s control, the process for upgrades can be complex and time-consuming.

Costs

If you are integrating with third-party systems, you’ll likely need to pay for access to each system separately. Depending on the number of systems, the cost can quickly add up.

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How Xplenty Can Help Streamline Software Integration

Xplenty is a leader in application software integrations with integrations to a variety of business tools for marketing, product, sales, support, and more. Sign up for a 14-day demo to see how Xplenty can help streamline your software integration efforts.

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