The value of an integrated system is often far greater than the value of the individual components. Software integrations expose the features and data in one system to another and vice versa which can add significant value.  

Why Integrate?

Some common reasons to integrate are:

  • Prevent the need to enter and edit the same data in multiple systems e.g. sharing CRM campaign members with an email automation system
  • Add additional attributes to data in a primary system so it has more value e.g. adding web browsing behavior to a CRM lead so the sales team see more information
  • Modernizing a legacy system that you cannot afford to replace e.g. adding a web wrapper around an obsolete application
  • Allow employees to work in one application without needing to be trained in another
  • Remain working with highly customized applications that would be difficult to replace  
  • Accumulate the necessary volume of data required to implement predictive analytics or data mining applications
  • To add new features with minimal disruption and cost 

Integrations can use old-school data syncing where information is replicated in both systems, or one system can be the 'single source' where data is pushed and pulled to/from that system in real time. Clearly, the latter has benefits around simplicity, data integrity (CRATA) and backup overhead.

Business Process Efficiency

Generally, the efficiency of a business process depends on the:

  • Availability and performance of the system
  • Simplicity of user experience
  • User skills and training
  • Availability of user help

A large part of this is keeping it simple for users with intuitive interfaces that reduces user training and interruption as users seek help. Using disconnected systems to complete a business process doubles the effort, made worse by the user losing context while transitioning between the two systems.

Integration Examples

The benefits of integration can be seen in the following example where three systems are integrated:

  1. Visitor, Jane, browses a website and accumulates behavior history
  2. She submits a lead form that pushes the form fields to a new CRM lead record. Also pushed is her behavior history and a passport image that proves her identity 
  3. Dave, a salesperson, reviews the lead, browsing history, and image in the CRM. In the record, he clicks the "Sync to EDRMS" button that auto-saves Janes passport image to a document and record management system and deletes it from the CRM 
  4. Dave uses the behavior history and lead information to prepare for his sales call

Three independent business systems (CMS, CRM, and EDRMS) have been used in this process but Dave has been able to stay in the CRM during the entire process. The integration has made the other systems almost invisible to him. As such, he does not need to waste time accessing them or need training on how to use them.

Sitecore, Salesforce, and Micro Focus Enterprise Content Manager

Let's apply this to some real systems and integration solutions. As a company, FuseIT sees customers with this particular business process story when integrating Sitecore CMS, Salesforce CRM and Micro Focus Enterprise Content Manager (EDRMS). In this case, the S4S and T4S integration solutions are used. These integrations add the following value:

  • Sitecore web forms can be mapped to Salesforce records, along with attachments 
  • Sitecore analytics are made available to the sales team as discovery data that will significantly improve the conversion rate 
  • The sales team can personalize the website from Salesforce
  • Salesforce attachments can be pushed to Micro Focus Content Manager locations
  • Content can be searched and documents surfaced in Salesforce

Conclusion

If you need features that are not on your system vendor’s roadmap, clever integration can often give you what you need, and more. For example, when Sitecore analytics, normally used for personalizing web visitor experience, is surfaced in Salesforce, it becomes invaluable information for the sales team. When Salesforce documents are moved to Micro Focus Content Manager, they become protected and tracked by robust processes not available in Salesforce. These integrated systems have become much more than the sum of their parts.

To learn more about how to add value to your business in this way please contact us for more information.