Data integration combines data collected in multiple systems so you can see everything you need to know about your customers, products and processes, instantly.
It means real-time access to accurate, reliable data. That’s vital to professionalism, innovation and growth.
For most businesses, data integration starts with an integration between the CRM and ERP, and that’s what most of our work at Rapidi focuses on. There may be other integrations that your business could benefit from, but this is the big one for most.
So what does data integration mean in practice, and how does it work?
What data integration is
Most of the time, data integration means using an integration tool to share data between two or more systems, such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
There are various ways this can be done, including both off-the-peg and custom solutions, or a mixture of the two. For most businesses using standard commercial systems, an off-the-peg solution is more than adequate, perhaps with a few tweaks.
Integration means that data is automatically shared between the two systems in real-time, with no need to manually copy data between the two. So, a member of the sales team can pull up data on a customer’s credit history, for example, that they might otherwise have had to look up manually, or ask someone else for.
Benefits of data integration
Data integration gives you the ability to run your business better. Because you can access all the information you need about a customer or a product easily, you can improve your customer and internal relationships, improve your decision-making and save resources.
Data integration means you can anticipate what your customers need and work with them proactively. You can see when they make particular orders and have the right stock in place at the right time, for example. It makes it easy to see financial information and order histories, so you can target those customers who you know you’re more likely to win a sale from.
Internally, data integration means that all of your staff are working from the same set of data. That’s important, because it’s easy for mistakes to be made when data is copied manually, resulting in lack of trust. Even if mistakes aren’t made, if different teams have access to different data, they don’t always have the same perspective. When everyone’s working from the same information, it’s easier for teams to understand each other and work together.
From that trust, comes greater innovation and better decision-making. When you know that the data you’re using is reliable, you can use it to develop ideas and more effective strategies for growth.
Finally, data integration will save you time and money. It means that you don’t waste resources manually copying data, chasing up information from other teams or putting right mistakes that result from lack of accurate data.
In short, data integration is essential to growing businesses.