Are your digital systems fully integrated? With over 73% of organisations using almost entirely cloud options in 2021, it’s critical to be thinking about how these platforms interact with one another. Many of these platforms are interlinked in function but isolated in practice. 85% of IT leaders say integration challenges are hindering their digital transformation efforts.
We’ll be running a webinar with our partner Open Social on the 29th September about how integrations make it easier to manage an online membership community (you can sign up here). For today’s post we’ll be looking into 5 top reasons why integration should be a core part of your digital strategy.
1 - Improve Data Cohesion
One of the biggest problems caused by a wide array of unintegrated systems is that it can be difficult to identify which is the accurate ‘master’ data source. With different teams working on different platforms and data largely being siloed, it can become impossible to obtain a holistic view of specific contacts that your organisation interacts with. This becomes worse as data ages and amendments are made in some places and not others.
By integrating systems such as CRMs, ERPs, or community platforms and ensuring that they talk to one another, you can create a ‘single source of truth’ for your contacts. This is most commonly done within the CRM system. Checking against this should always then result in you having access to the most up to date information, rather than having to examine multiple contradictory sources.
2 - Save Time
One of the most tedious parts of maintaining a digital infrastructure is keeping everything updated. Imagine a contact informs you they have changed their phone number. There are likely a number of different places this information is recorded. If your data is siloed or spread across different systems then this might even take an hour or two to locate and replace every instance.
Integration can make such processes seamless with data being updated in one place and then being pushed to others. What once took hours can now be done in moments. This frees up your team and lets them work on projects that will help drive your organisation’s growth.
3 - Better Analytics
A familiar task for many is collating data from various platforms onto spreadsheets for the purpose of basic analysis. This can be a very time consuming process. Tracking down each data point (and in some cases assembling them) distracts away from the task of the actual analysis. Relevant trends can become obscured or even pass by unnoticed. The most frustrating part of this is that you possess all of the necessary information for impactful decisions, but it can be tricky to display it in a helpful way.
Connecting your data can make analysis significantly simpler. If put through a dedicated reporting tool you save yourself substantial time on the data extraction, meaning you can focus on testing hypotheses instead. With data accessible from one place, you bolster your analysis capacity notably and can have charts update themselves automatically. This lets you act efficiently upon any opportunities or concerns which emerge.
4 - Great Service
The quality of your service can make or break your reputation and success. With 77% of individuals saying they’re more loyal to organisations with top-notch service, this is not an area you can afford to sleep on. Delivering high quality service means having a well equipped team who are given the right tools to succeed. Integration plays a key part in this.
Let’s take two scenarios. In both, a member rings in with a problem.
In the first, the team member logs the call as a ticket on their help desk platform which is disconnected from the rest of the digital infrastructure. Though they are sympathetic to the query, they have access to limited historical data and are only able to offer a generic interaction.
In a second scenario your organisation has a holistic CRM platform that is well integrated with various other platforms, including your digital community. The team member therefore has superior access to the member’s details in just one location, without the need for multiple browser tabs. This includes how long they’ve subscribed, a history of their interactions with you, and the latest from their social media feeds. This allows your team member to make smart, informed decisions to deliver a personalised support approach. The latter results in a higher quality experience, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
5 - Smoother Scale-up
One of the trickier parts of growing any organisation is scaling up. If you are dependent on a lot of manual processes and need to scale them up then this can become at best a logistical headache, if not outright impossible. Automation becomes an essential part of growth, allowing you to use your current resources to do more. Whether it’s a more efficient invoicing system, a self-service system that cuts out support requests, or a lead automation system, each of these provides invaluable benefits to your organisation.
You will come under increasing demands from your community as you grow. Depending on the rate of growth, this can put a severe strain on team capacity. Management, therefore, needs to ensure their IT systems are flexible enough to handle peaks in demand. Otherwise, errors may occur and there is a risk staff will become burnt out from the pressure of a growing workload. By building a system that adapts to your needs, you lay a strong foundation for your future success.
Find out more
To find out more about integrations, make sure to attend our webinar with Open Social on the 29th September. We’ll be discussing real-life examples and demonstrating how to achieve stronger results. Save your space now!