The word “integration” can mean different things to different people. And, it certainly means different things to different people in the software space. Many times a software company will promote that its’ software “integrates” with some other software. Technically, this may be true. However, that’s not really the most relevant question. The more appropriate question is “Does Integration exist?” between the two software packages.
Let’s take a couple examples: Sugar and SAP and Sugar and Quickbooks.
You might be using SAP as your ERP Software. You might ask “Does Sugar integrate with SAP?” The answer is “Yes. Sugar can be integrated with SAP.” This means that someone will have to build integration between Sugar and SAP using a variety of tools and techniques. We may have integrated Sugar and SAP before, but because of the complexity of SAP, a certain amount of special, unique stuff has to be done each time. It might be “mapping” (the direction of information from one place to another between the two packages) or it might be actually building the functionality to send information back and forth. It might require the purchase of a middleware integration “tool” like Zapier, Talend, Starfish, Bedrock, Magic, or any one of a half dozen others. So…in this case, integration does not actually “exist”, but the two packages can be integrated with some work.
You might be using Quickbooks as your ERP Software. You might ask “Does Sugar integrate with Quickbooks”. The answer is “Yes. Sugar integrates with Quickbooks. One way Sugar integrates with Quickbooks is using the FayeBSG Sugar-Quickbooks Integration Application”. Did you see that? Did you see how the answer was different? Some people may answer the question the same way as the SAP question. However, make sure you know the difference. “Can it integrate?” is significantly different than “Does it integrate?” It “can be integrated” is different than it “integrates”.
The differences between the two have dramatic implications – cost, timing, and success rates to name a few.
What we’ve tried to do with all of our products is turn the “can be” into a “does”. We’ve tried to eliminate the need for developing an integration map every time you want to integrate. We’ve tried to eliminate the need for expensive and sometimes complicated middleware (the stuff that can sync data between two systems) and just create software that does the integration it’s intended to do.
Integrating software is a key component to a successful software experience, especially when it comes to CRM Software. And, so, the next time you think about integrating different software packages in your organization, make sure you understand the answer you get. “They can be integrated” is way different than “Yes – they integrate.”