Various devices qith graphs showing integration

Custom Software Integration 101

When your organization scales, your company will demand more from your software systems. While custom software systems are one of the top choices to handle scaling, there could be barriers that prevent custom development. Integrating current software systems is a viable option for getting the most out of your software while keeping your IT budget in check.

Why Use Custom Integrations

Custom software integration will take multiple pieces of software and aggregating them into one single or numerous directional apps. Integration creates a multi-functional application that can help with your organization’s efficiency.

Merge Multiple Software 

Many companies that are in growth phases have multiple software applications to run various core business functions. Accounting, sales, operations, marketing, etc. may have new and adequate software that would cost more to replace than to keep. 

Software integration can help to develop a centralized database and UI to filter these apps and connect them. Integration differs from an API due to integrations creating one system vs. communications with APIs. 

Legacy Software Integration with New Technologies

Many established enterprises may have legacy systems in place, with millions invested in development, maintenance, and licensing. With digital transformations, integration connects new technologies and apps to existing legacy systems, decreasing the cost for new software to replace legacy software.

Combining Software for Multi-Functionality

Companies work with different departments as they grow. Companies may use multiple software for various functions in the same department. Companies will often use open source solutions to handle mundane and straightforward tasks. 

For instance, marketing departments may use a free scheduler for social media, Google Analytics, and a CRM converted viewers for everyday use. Custom integrations can build a UI and database to help create one hub for all three using integrations and API through Google. This creates efficiency within the department.

Benefits of Custom Integrations

While creating a complete tailor-made software system may be the best route to get the highest ROI, many companies can’t afford the resources to build them. Integrations are a secondary solution to help get all the functionality out of your current software.

Real-Time Visualization

Companies with multiple software applications have issues with seeing the entire picture in their business in real-time. Siloed systems and databases cause laps in real-time data due to having to access multiple user interfaces. 

Integrated systems funnel your existing software and data to a centralized location allowing you the ease of access and giving you real-time access to all of your data and business processes. Your departments will also have better access to other data and systems.

Lower Storage Costs

With multiple software, separate databases and servers get utilized depending on the technology and language used to build those apps. With the integration, funneling your data to centralized databases can help to save on the amount of storage and servers needed. The efficiency with data transfers and processing will increase as well.  

Increased Productivity

Siloed software creates small barriers and obstacles between departments or even within departments depending on software app usage. For instance, accounting needs a shipping document. From receiving to help reconcile. Some companies still need someone to walk to receiving and manually pull up the shipping document. Integrating systems allows receiving to scan paperwork to a centralized database. Accounting can pull that up without the barriers.

Increased Customer Care and Satisfaction

Integrated systems create virtual environments that allow departments to retrieve and use customer data in real-time. Integrations enable customer service and account managers to solve customer issues quickly without having to shuffle inquiries from department to department. 

Lower IT Costs and Hours Wasted

With siloed systems, IT costs many production hours into installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting and prevents your IT team from innovative projects and handling upgrades that would move the company forward.

Integrated systems reduce the time IT needs to spend on each system. Allowing your IT team the time for innovation helps to keep your company competitive when you can focus your resources on cloud migration or creating global SaaS applications instead of troubleshooting HR software, your revenue increases.

Examples of Industry Uses

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

ERP systems are one of, if not the most common type of integration in business. ERP systems combine all enterprise applications creating a near real-time environment. Characteristics of ERP include:

  • System integration
  • Common database for application support
  • Consistent UI across systems
  • Can be used on-premises, SaaS, or hybrid

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM is used with sales, marketing, and business development to help organize and store client data, including contact info, deal info, scheduled contacts, etc. CRM integrates contacts with other departments as well as for analytic software. The purpose is to optimize customer relationships. CRM can get integrated with ERP as a centralized platform.

4 Types of Integrations

Vertical Integration

Vertical integrations create siloes based on functionality. While it is integrating systems, you won’t get the full benefit of complete real-time visibility. Vertical integration works best with intradepartmental systems. When HR needs payroll and scheduling systems, or accounting wants integration of accounts payable with accounts receivable legacy software are good business use cases. 

Horizontal Integration

Horizontal integration, or Enterprise service bus (ESB), can be visualized as a bus line moving processes from each station down the line. ESB creates a subsystem that connects the integrated systems reducing total connections per software to one. Data is transferred from each system and moved through the ESB subsystem. 

The benefit of ESB is each subsystem is independent of the next. When one subsystem needs to get replaced, it doesn’t affect the other subsystems. The initial cost may be higher with implementation, but scaling becomes cost-efficient over the long run. 

Enterprise Service Bus integration

Star Integration

Star integration, also called spaghetti integration, creates a web integrating all systems. Star establishes a network with each system having multiple connections and all systems combined. The integration code gets replicated to connect all systems.

Star integration is more cost-effective and quicker than ESB, but it is not as efficient in the long run. If one system goes down or needs upgrades, it affects all systems. Replacing one system for new technology also affects the system, and new integrations need to get developed to connect it to other systems. 

Star integration chart for software

Conclusion

When complete software builds aren’t a viable option for your business, consider integration as a secondary option. Centralizing and streamlining your current systems will improve efficiency, increase revenue, and help with customer retention. 

To learn more about custom software integrations, email, or call us today at 315-738-6016. We are a software staff augmentation company working with both commercial and government clients. Our specialties include custom software and API development, AWS cloud computing, blockchain, and SaaS development. We work with tech companies, finance and insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and healthcare companies helping build software projects with 100% US-based software developers on-demand.