Software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications have come to dominate organizations’ technology stacks.
Work in sales? You more than likely use a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Work in finance? There’s little doubt you use an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Work in HR? You’re definitely leveraging an human resources information system (HRIS)—and the list goes on.
Given the variety of SaaS applications available, there’s perhaps little surprise that the average enterprise organization uses nearly 300 of them!
To ensure your team makes the most of each app, you’ll need to integrate it with the other technology in your ecosystem. Why? We’ll explain by walking you through 3 critical reasons, but let’s start by aligning on the definition of SaaS integration.
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Definition of SaaS integration
SaaS integration, or SaaS application integration, involves connecting a SaaS application with another cloud-based app or an on-premise software via application programming interfaces (APIs). Once connected, the app can request and share data freely with the other app or on-premise system.
Related: Why an iPaaS can integrate your SaaS apps and on-premise systems effectively
Benefits of SaaS integration
With this SaaS integration definition in mind, here are the top reasons for implementing it:
It provides transparency
How has a certain prospect engaged with your team in the past? What’s the status of a support case? Has the customer renewed their subscription?
By using SaaS integration, your team can answer their burning questions by simply visiting an application they’re already familiar with—versus checking various systems or asking colleagues for an update. This enables anyone on your team to find data quickly, and it also helps prevent employees from distracting and bothering their peers.
Related: Why business integration is so critical
It saves your team a significant amount of time
Now that your team no longer has to manually reenter data across applications or hop between them to find specific data points, they can save an immeasurable amount of time. Using their newfound time savings, they can perform more business-critical tasks.
For example, after you connect a ticket management system like Zendesk with a CRM like Salesforce, your customer success managers (CSMs) don’t have to update customer cases across both systems. Once a CSM marks a case as closed in Zendesk, it’s automatically marked as closed in SFDC. As a result, your CSMs can spend less time on this manual task and focus instead on providing thoughtful responses to customers, engaging with important clients proactively, etc.
It improves the employee and customer experience
Now that your employees can perform more thoughtful and strategic work, they’re more likely to enjoy their job. And once they do, there’s a higher likelihood they’ll take actions that leave your customers happier.
Related: 5 trends that are shaping the future of application integration
Drawbacks of SaaS integration
As valuable as these benefits are, there are certain challenges that come with integrating your apps, whether it’s done in-house, via native integrations, or using an iPaaS.
It doesn’t give rise to digital transformation
To truly transform the way your organization operates, you’ll need to go beyond connecting SaaS apps. Real digital transformation involves connecting your data and workflows across your applications, data, and teams.
It requires technical expertise
This inherently prohibits many of your employees from building the integrations themselves, which, in turn, can cause integration backlogs that frustrate teams and allow data silos to persist. Also, since the employees at large can’t be directly involved, many integrations might skip the attention of builders and fall through the cracks.
It can take a while to implement
Given the technical work involved in connecting your apps, the timeline for building any integration can easily get dragged out. Like the previous challenge, this leads to a long-lasting gap of information across apps, forcing employees to hop between them to find information and to re-enter data.
Related: 3 reasons why SaaS integration is hard
How an integration-led automation platform lets you get the most out of your SaaS apps
To capture the benefits of SaaS integration and to address its drawbacks, you can adopt an integration-led automation platform.
This type of platform not only functions as an iPaaS and ETL tool, but it can also let you do the following: Listen to your apps for business events (triggers) and, once the condition for the trigger gets met, deliver real-time outcomes (actions).
The latter can transform how your business operates by allowing you to build end-to-end automations across your tech stack, and utilize chatbots that let employees work within your messaging platform (e.g. Slack).
For example, say you’re interviewing employees virtually and want to use the following applications:
- Zoom: to conduct the interviews
- Sendoso: to send the candidates swag following the event
- Slack: to coordinate across interviewers
- Greenhouse: to send interviewers candidate scorecards
With an integration-led automation platform, you can connect each of these apps and, using a chatbot (in this case, Workbot®), build the following workflow automation: