Integration is a word marketers all know, but perhaps don’t understand exactly what it means. Especially because the way companies can integrate their cloud apps has changed greatly over the past few years. Workato’s VP of Growth, Bhaskar Roy, breaks down integration, detailing why you need it and how to get it
CUSTOMER DATA PLATFORM (CDP) BUYERS’ GUIDE 2019
Welcome to the 2019 edition of CDP Buyers’ Guide. As customer data platforms are becoming increasingly necessary for enterprise marketers, it is also becoming more complex to choose the best fit CDP platform amongst the pool of new and old vendors.
In the past five years, the MarTech space alone has grown from just 150 marketing apps on the market to around 4000. Businesses want to use world-class tools to improve how they engage with customers and increase brand awareness. As they use more of these tools, the scale at which they must make them work together is much greater. The future of digital transformation hinges on integration.
If you’re not a tech expert, you might not be familiar with the term “integration,” or you might not understand where it fits into your work as a marketer. But integrations are the support beams that hold your MarTech stack together. It is key to driving business process innovation – replacing manual processes with technology to drive cost savings and faster revenue generation.
What is integration, anyway?
At its core, integration is about making different apps and systems work together: by allowing them to share data, by orchestrating the business processes that cut across them, and by coordinating how employees work across the growing number of apps.
But there are multiple types of integration, and not all of them work the same way. Integrations can be broken down into four categories:
Types of Integration
Data integration entails quickly moving high volumes of data between different places and transforming and consolidating it into one or more data repositories, like a Data Warehouse. Data integration allows you to easily build business intelligence and analytics solutions.
App integration means syncing data between business apps. These apps can be on-premise or cloud-based, and the sync can go one way or be bidirectional. The key difference between App and Data integration is that the App Integration typically has some associated logic around how the sync should be done. For example – sync the deal value and deal terms between the CRM and Finance system only when a deal is closed. Application integration makes businesses more agile by delivering relevant, contextualized information to the right user at the right time–and across all channels and devices.
Business Workflow/ Process Integrations
Process integration automates complex business workflows by integrating business and partner applications. Usually, process integration uses conditional actions and process branching. For example, you can integrate a process so that when a VIP customer calls, they are automatically connected to their account rep.
Conversational integrations use chatbots with deep business context, insights, and access to integrated apps. For example, a conversational integration might allow you to approve expenses directly from Slack, just by typing a command or clicking a button.
API integrations are when you build integrations using the API that is provided by a service. The service can be anything that has an API from an application or micro-service, to a legacy or home-grown system. API integrations allow you to easily get relevant information from various sources. For example, say you want to run a campaign to provide customized offers based on a location of the user. You can use Google’s location service API to get the location information of the user and use this information to choose which offer you give them.
Okay, that clears things up. But why do I need integration?
Too Many Apps
In 1999, the average company used only five to ten apps. Today’s enterprise, in comparison, uses an average of 1,427 cloud apps across its entire organization. Digital transformation is clearly a top priority for many businesses, and it’s centered around adopting best-of-breed apps. To integrate these apps and automate business processes across them, an integration platform becomes a necessity.
Organizations lose 21.3% of their productivity every year due to app switching and information silos. Plus, marketers spend a lot of time doing manual work – from downloading information into spreadsheets, uploading lists to marketing/CRM systems and more. Automating all these manual tasks can result in a productivity boost, enabling marketers to focus on driving leads and revenue.
Full View of Customer
While there are hundreds of apps designed to help marketers do a great job, no one app can do everything itself. To optimally engage with customers, a marketing team needs an integrated MarTech stack that puts all information they need for a 360° customer view. Integration also allows marketers to flawlessly execute complex workflows, like lead segmentation and email marketing, with little to no manual effort.
I’m in – How do I get started with integration?
Choosing an integration platform can seem overwhelming to the less technologically inclined, but there are a few things to consider while shopping around. Your integration tool should be user-friendly enough that non-developers can fearlessly build integrations. Marketing is an agile field, so your integration tools should also allow you to change your integrations easily and quickly – even if the integrations are powerful and have complex workflows. The platform needs to support all the apps in your MarTech stack, from Marketo or Hubspot to MailChimp and SurveyMonkey. And you shouldn’t have to worry about peak loads, capacity planning, or high availability when deploying an integration. Your integrations should just work–like flipping a light switch.
Article provided by Martech
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