The arrival of cloud business applications was a revolution that simplified the process of starting and managing your own business. Traditional software with full features was too expensive to buy, required powerful hardware to run and needed complex implementations.
But there is a new breakthrough happening right now in the SaaS software industry: integrations between different solutions.
Why are integrations so important, especially for your new business?
Let’s imagine you are starting an online shoe store. What are the core business processes you have to cover? You will need tools to help you manage your website, ecommerce platform, shoe orders and inventory, customer and supplier contacts, customer support, billing and invoicing, email marketing and the list can go on and on.
The next step would be to marry each of these business processes with the best of breed applications that fit your requirements. To manage your customers’ and providers’ contacts you could choose an online CRM solution. Then you would move to the next business process in your list and choose the best solution for it, and so on.
You may end up with at least seven different software solutions, seven applications that will not be talking to each other, seven separate databases to take care of. Each time you make a new sale, you would have to add it individually into your CRM, your email marketing solution, your billing and invoicing app - and then what happens if information changes? You would need to remember to change it in seven different places.
It is no wonder business apps integrations have been identified as one of the main technological challenges for businesses. Fortunately, cloud application vendors are responding. The most popular solutions are starting to offer integrations with other applications.
So now, taking integrations into consideration, how should you choose the best applications for your new company?
Start by identifying your core business process. Check the best of breed software solutions for it and take two factors into account when making a choice: which one is the most appropriate for my specific requirements? Which one is offering better integration capabilities with other types of applications I will need?
Once you have chosen your core application, you can cover your other business processes with the applications it offers as integrations. For example, if Insightly is your core business application, then you could cover your email marketing needs with MailChimp, your quote management processes with Quote Roller, or your notes and comments with Evernote.
However, there is still a way to go before all the applications you might need offer seamless integrations among one another. But if you are selecting applications to start your business, this is the right moment to take integration capabilities into account - it’s critical for the efficiency and competitiveness of your company.
About the author: Christophe Primault is the founder and CEO of GetApp, the business apps marketplace where businesses can discover the best solutions for their needs. GetApp also helps SaaS developers build an ecosystem of integrated SaaS partners with a white labeled iPaaS (integration platform as a service)
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