Look at your computer desktop right now. How many programs do you have running? How many tabs are open in your web browser? If you are like many small business owners and managers, you use a host of different programs, websites, and applications to make your business work. But what if a systems integration audit could declutter your desktop and improve your company’s efficiency?
The Basics of Systems Integration
Systems integration is a form of computer programming or web development that makes all your existing apps, programs, and databases (your systems) work together. It connects (integrates) your software and hardware together, allowing you to take advantage of the synergies available in the programs.
Streamlining Business Operations
The best way to understand systems integration is with an example:
Jenna runs a screen-printing e-commerce business. She has several t-shirts, hats, and bags ready to order on her site, but she also offers custom printing to companies, non-profits, and consumers. She takes orders online, through email, and over the phone. Jenna has a team working for her including artists, administrators, and the people who operate the machines. To manage her business, Jenna uses:
- A web-based email marketing platform (like MailChimp)
- An e-commerce website with secure payment portal
- An email system (like Outlook)
- A job-tracking database
- A task-assignment system (like Trello)
- An accounting software (like QuickBooks)
- A spreadsheet to monitor inventory (in Excel)
Jenna and her employees do a pretty good job of keeping everything together and on time, but sometimes jobs or customers fall through the cracks. Jenna also wants to increase her number of return-customers and free up administrator time to do more sales outreach to local businesses.
Making the Most of What You Already Use
Jenna doesn’t have to worry about starting from scratch. The beauty of systems integration is it works with the programs and systems you already use in your business to take advantage of all those programs have to offer. By creating a systems integration software that connects the pieces of Jenna’s workflow, the team at Provisio Technology Solutions can help her make the most of her software investment, and her employees’ time.
Another advantage to this approach is it means Jenna and her team don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They won’t have to spend hours (or days) re-entering the information from their existing databases into a shiny new software. Instead, all that “legacy” data will be protected, and cross-populated, so all the parts of the company machine have access to the information.
Systems Integration and Automation
Well-made systems integration software takes the burden off business owners, managers, and staff and puts it on the programs themselves. By connecting the existing tools and automating some of the work, the Provisio team can help streamline Jenna’s business and meet her goals. For example, a systems integration solution could:
- Automatically transfer contact information from e-commerce customers and email systems into MailChimp for future marketing
- Generate and assign work orders for staff when a new custom project is created
- Import online payments into accounting software
- Create data-entry checks for the customer database to prevent errors and omissions
- Automatically update inventory lists when customers make online purchases
- Generate reminders and notifications when deadlines approach or inventory gets low
Automation and systems integration can help Jenna meet her goals and improve her company’s efficiency. By avoiding double-entry, reducing data entry errors, and managing task assignments and follow up, a systems integration solution can make Jenna’s business more efficient, productive, and profitable.
The Provisio team can help you be more like Jenna, too. We would love to meet with you to go over your existing systems and your goals, to see how a custom systems integration solution can help you. Contact us to set up a free consultation.