What’s your digital transformation strategy? If you didn’t have one a few months ago, odds are you do now.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses across the globe to strengthen their digital infrastructure to support their primary external and internal operations.
From workplace efficiency apps to cloud-based meetings and online security software, digital transformation is suddenly at the forefront of business objectives. And if the tech industry was moving quickly before, it’s operating at light-speed now. The businesses managing to keep up are using hyper-digital technology to match the pace of developments and demand.
Before the pandemic, businesses had the luxury of time when it came to new technology solutions and upgrades. Leaders could explore and weigh their options through research and consultations before selecting and developing or integrating.
Now, to stay competitive—and even just survive—that time is up.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he has seen two years of digital transformation within the ecosystem his company supports in just two months.
“From remote teamwork and learning to sales and customer service to critical cloud infrastructure and security, we are working alongside customers every day to help them stay open for business in a world of remote everything,” he said during an earnings call in April, 2020.
Microsoft’s software solutions have seen a dramatic increase in users. For example, usage of its Windows virtual desktop tripled within Q2 2020, and active devices on its Windows 10 are up 30% since the same time in 2019. Additionally, Microsoft Teams unsurprisingly jumped 70% to 75 million active daily users by the end of April, 2020.
The change has come quickly, and moving fast requires agility.
Agility in a hyper-digital world
Microsoft isn’t alone in what it’s seeing; software providers everywhere are churning out solutions to meet the sudden increase in remote teams and their digital needs.
Brick-and-mortar businesses are also scrambling to move to e-commerce and testing subscription business models, which are better business models at weathering economic crises. However, as organizations add various platforms to their technology stacks, a new kind of problem emerges: too many tools.
How do businesses keep up with all the software fueling this compulsory digital transformation? As teams operate remotely, the opportunity for silos only increases if each team also relies only on its own, stand-alone platform. A lack of interdepartmental transparency hiders communication and collaboration, and is anything but agile.
The solution for aligning business units for subscription growth goes beyond encouraging team members to simply talk to one another. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also technology-based.
Software integration of business processes solves the problem of too many tools
“The goal of digital transformation is to use technology to solve traditional problems, which means integrating technology into every area of the business,” Blake Morgan explains.
She goes on to illustrate how digital transformation is a continual endeavor that breaks down internal silos to improve the external customer experience. As such, integration of all data systems is a key step to successful transformation.
Digital transformation means that people, processes, and technology must interact seamlessly. When business tools play nicely with one another, it makes everyone’s lives and processes easier. It’s a win-win all around. This is because integrating software accomplishes the following.
1. Increases productivity
How much time does your team spend on transferring information from one platform to another? Without integration, chances are it’s too much.
Automated integration reduces demand on resources, freeing up time and talent for more important tasks and projects. That compounded productivity comes not just from time saved, but also from unified software that communicates data quickly and accurately.
Consider social media platform like Sprout Social or HootSuite, for example. With these platforms, businesses can manage and measure performance of all their social media pages in one place. Rather than having a team re-post the same content on each platform and manually consolidate reporting, the work is automated.
With less work on its plate, the marketing or social media team can turn its attention to more important objectives, like creating engaging content and planning campaigns.
Imagine applying this kind of integration across other departments, like customer experience or revenue critical operations like billing and accounting? The more automated and streamlined processes are, the more productive your entire team becomes.
For example, EnVue Telematics has reported that after going down many paths, the company found the right solution to not only meet its digital transformation and billing automation needs, but also to integrate seamlessly with—and sit sub-ledger to—its accounting platform, QuickBooks.
EnVue Telematics has reduced its lengthy billing process by around 60% and achieved greater billing accuracy. The growing telematics business has been able to considerably decrease the amount of time it spends on budgeting and forecasting. The previously multi-month process now takes less than two days.
2. Reduces errors
In addition to increasing productivity, automated software integration reduces the number of human errors. Manually transferring information between business tools is both time-consuming and prone to mistakes. Automation reduces these errors while increasing speed. The result is a better customer experience that leads to higher retention and less churn.
Integration also means less duplicated data—a close relative of errors. Duplicate data, especially in large amounts, is redundant and a drag on operations. More importantly is what happens when data is updated in one place, but not the other.
In this situation, a business can find itself with conflicting data stored within multiple platforms, which can be hard to reconcile for reporting and decision-making. These inconsistencies create and widen rifts between departmental alignment on business objectives.
Integrated systems, on the other hand, unify departments and even scale with the business as it grows and adapts. They keep everyone on the same page and enable clear communication.
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3. Improves data visibility
Equally important to unifying departments is ensuring transparency between them.
Integration enables data sharing through automated syncing. This provides valuable real-time information for more accurate reporting and forecasting, and reduced downtime spent waiting on updates. It also makes it possible for customers to access data through a self-service portal to update accounts, make payments, and perform other tasks on their own at any time of the day.
With integrated platforms, a more complete single customer view comes within reach.
Team members can leverage increased access to this data within their departments. And detailed data provides insight to target markets and customers for improving marketing, sales, customer service, product development, finance, and more.
Integration streamlines revenue operations, which in turn results in highly effective revenue engines.
4. Reduces development and IT costs
When departments are fractured, IT has to work harder to maintain systems and applications and keep them updated. Often, the development team may be tasked with building an in-house solution to the problem, funneling time and resources away from its main objective: the product!
Of course, IT teams are certainly capable of building in-house solutions. However, a software provider’s first priority is making sure customers have access to a high-quality product. This is best achieved with an IT team not distracted by in-house builds and maintenance.
Integrated, cloud-based software continually updates with improvements like new features and iterations to address your needs. This lets the IT and development teams focus on providing the best software possible for your own customers, putting attention back where it belongs.
Digital transformation at hyper-speed requires integration
For businesses looking to keep up with the even more rapidly changing technology landscape, integration isn’t an option: it’s a requirement. Things are moving too fast to keep up with manually, making automation an increasingly critical component of relevancy.
Fortunately, business software providers know this, and are doing their own work to stay relevant by building integration into their tools. Fusebill, for example, integrates with platforms like Salesforce, NetSuite, HubSpot, QuickBooks, and more to enable clients to streamline their workflow processes and revenue operations. This brings huge flexibility to mission-critical revenue-focused operations like go-to-market and payment recovery.
Look for business solutions with built-in integrations to software already key to your current operations to ensure your success with digital transformation.