Is a lack of application integration hurting your business? Here’s how to ease the pain.

Better integration makes it easier to bring your people, systems, and data together in one place to give individuals what they need, when they need it, wherever they need it.

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On Sept. 23, 1999, a NASA satellite reached Mars, where it was supposed to begin orbiting the planet.  Instead, the Mars Climate Orbiter crashed into the planet. Why? A data integration error between two software programs caused the spacecraft to navigate too close to the planet, where it was likely destroyed in the atmosphere.

That’s an extreme example of what can happen when systems don’t work together. But it does illustrate the complex and unexpected issues that can come with a business-wide software upgrade. It’s essential that applications mesh to ease data sharing and collaboration.

That’s easier said than done in today’s complex IT environment. It’s a safe bet that applications reside in many different locations across your business, both onsite and in the cloud. If they aren’t tightly integrated, employees will be hard-pressed to easily share information – which means they’ll default to more laborious methods such as manual copy/paste or sending documents via email.

Just over one-third of businesses have successfully integrated all of their primary business applications, according to the SMB Group, a market research and analyst firm focused on technology adoption among small and medium-sized businesses. Just under one in five say none of their primary applications share data and workflows.

Lack of integration creates information silos that make it hard to get a complete picture of how your business is performing. It creates inefficiencies that slow down decision-making and increase redundancies across the business. Lack of integration also can create a subpar experience for remote or mobile workers who can’t easily access on-premises information or applications.

Better together

Productivity and collaboration apps are foundational to many businesses. Organizations that opt for “best of breed” applications that have great features but may not work well together may want to consider a different approach to improve information sharing and communication across the business.

“At a certain point, it’s not just about the features you use—it’s about all the collaboration workflow that goes around those features,” says Laurie McCabe, co-founder and principal with SMB Group. “Businesses are realizing they need these tools to be more integrated so [they] can streamline collaboration instead of just emailing files back and forth.”

To address the challenges brought on by disparate solutions, 76% of respondents in the SMB Group survey say they’re making or planning investments to integrate their business applications. An integrated suite makes it easier to bring your people, systems, and data together in one place to give individuals what they need, when they need it.

The right solution can enhance and encourage collaboration by making digital connections as simple as picking up the phone. Features such as a centralized workspace for sharing files and holding virtual meetings or real-time chats can help to foster a culture of collaboration that helps individuals and teams do their best work from anywhere, on any device.

Download the Modernizing with Microsoft 365 Playbook.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.