Geo – When you’re looking into getting software for your business there are tons out there on the market. But as you grow it’s unlikely that you’ll stick to using just one system. Having multiple pieces of software is by no means a bad thing, but when too many get thrown into the mix it makes things a bit confusing. This is why integration is a huge life-saver.
Integration is when two or more software systems combine their features to form one complete application.
How do integrations work?
Integrations happen when a software provider notices that a lot of its existing customers also use another piece of software. It then forms a partnership with that company and is granted permission to combine certain features into its own software. This allows users, who have both systems, to only need to log in and use one system instead of flicking back and forth between platform.
Why don’t software companies just make their own features instead of integrating?
Software companies don’t integrate with their direct competitors but rather companies that create products that complement their own. Software companies work hard to make sure its system is the best it can be, meaning it uses all its time and resources to work on its existing product. It may not have the time, equipment or expertise to create a whole new product that’s completely different from its core product, even if it would benefit its customers.
For example, say you’re a plumber and a customer asks if you can fix broken light switch. Even if you’re the best and most skilled plumber in the area, you won’t have the necessary skills to do the job because electrical is its own specialised trade. Does that mean you need to become an electrician? Of course not, instead you would hire an electrician and expand your business into providing that service.
That’s how integration works, software companies team up, lend their expertise and share features with each other. This not only makes it easier for you but it means that you’re getting the best software in the market across the board.
Why do I need integrations?
Integrations are incredibly useful for getting the best out of two or more systems. It lets you view information from multiple software platforms in one place instead of needing to switch between them. Not only does this save time but it allows you to better compare information and get more out of your everyday tasks.
The process works in a number of different ways to make your workday more convenient. For example, if you have accounting software, integrating it with job management software allows you to import your client list. From there, any changes you make on one platform will automatically show up on the other.
Integration makes using multiple systems easier by getting the best features from both and bringing them together.
What kinds of integrations exist?
When using job management software as your core system, there are plenty of options available. Integrations vary between providers so it’s important to consider the kind of integration you need before purchasing any software. Here are some common integration types for job management software:
- Accounting software
Integrating job management software with accounting software is the most common form of integration. It allows your business to track quotes and invoices against your jobs so you never lose track of payments. You can also keep better track of your taxable items so you can create more accurate claims.
- GPS tracking software
Teams that need to travel to various locations as part of their job can benefit from integrating with GPS tracking software. It takes the location data of your jobs and pairs it with the vehicle data in the GPS software. This shows you the real-time location of your staff as well as the condition of your vehicles, such as the engine, oil levels and tyre rotation.
- Inventory management software
If your business deals with lots of goods coming and going, integrating with inventory management software means you can view your stock levels against your budgets and purchase history. This makes it easier to know when to restock certain items and to see what’s selling well.
- Credit card payment software
For an easier and more secure way to handle payments between you, suppliers and customers. Integrating with a credit card payment system means you can better control your credit card payments against your invoices. It lets the system be the middleman by securing your payments rather than relying solely on invoices and bank transaction histories.
- Route optimisation software
Unlike GPS tracking, route optimisation software takes your location data and automatically finds the best possible route for your team. This is helpful if your team needs to make several stops during the day. If your team operate with heavy vehicles or other specialised vehicles that aren’t permitted on certain roads, route optimisation integration allows you to find suitable routes for them.
What else do I need to keep in mind?
Before you bring any software into your business there are a few things to consider.
- What system do you want to make your core system?
As integration works by bringing features into one place, you’ll need to make sure the software that’s receiving the integration isn’t a hassle for you and your team to use.
- What aspects can be transferred and shared between the two systems?
Integration isn’t one-size-fits-all, certain providers may only program integration for certain features and not others. So if a system advertises that it integrates with a product your business already uses, it’s worth looking into what exactly that integration involves. You don’t want to end up getting new software and the integration is only for features your business doesn’t use.
- How often does the integrate update/sync itself?
If you make a change in one software how long does it take to show up in the other? You want your integration’s sync times to be as quick as possible (otherwise you’re better off keeping them separate).
Use Xero or QuickBooks?
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