Application Integration Strategy - Knowing when you need one

An application integration strategy can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Having an ordered movement of work between applications and components saves time and saves money. Here are 10 reasons why you could need an application integration:

  1. Passing work between applications today

You’re already doing it. You do it every day, so get a strategy around it. Increased use of technology in business means creating a strategy for this just as you would with any other department of your organization. The need for a strategy increases when you have already invested heavily in best-of-breed applications, and users want to incorporate a cutting edge point solution application. A recent purchase or development of an integration due to changes in the organization could also signal the need for an integration strategy to ensure your invested dollar is being used in the best possible way.

  1. Out of date current practices

Handwritten forms, printouts, and reports sent via email are all different ways to share data between teams, but these ways of sharing are outdated. Automated sharing through integration is more efficient and reliable for your team. Import/Export workarounds are inferior to integrations. Think about what happens when an import fails halfway through. A true integration can handle the order of operations, workflow rules, stored procedures, and concatenate and parse data.

  1. Scalability

Look at the software you currently have. Is it software that offers scalability through multiple software copies?  If your IT is bogged down with report writing because access to all of the data is not available to the users needing it, you are not working at the scale you could be. If you are unable to properly scale through the current software you have, an update could do you some good.

  1. Predictive Analytics

Many organizations could use help ensure the decisions they are making are the smartest decisions possible. The right integration will give you a comprehensive executive analytics dashboard. The predictive analytics that are yielded from such a dashboard are irreplaceable for your organization. The ability to pull data from multiple applications will increase your ability to make smarter decisions.

  1. Changes on the horizon

Changes to your operations could mean an increased need for an application that involves information sharing with current applications. Especially if you frequently experience changes in product or service offerings or changes to your competition. Having a strategy in place will make this transition smoother and more effective in the long run.

  1. Visibility at all levels

An application integration strategy can bring all levels and departments of your organization together through streamlined data. If the current state of your business has department leaders reporting different results and these data discrepancies are costing your team time to reconcile the data, you are not up to industry standards. This could be negatively impacting your organization and having one truth for the data will bring visibility to all levels.

  1. Adaptability

Let’s say your sales doubled overnight, would your team be able to keep up? Would you still offer the same level of service to your customers? If your accounting team wants visibility into daily operations, will it disrupt a workflow? If your team and your technology couldn’t adapt to changes in your organization, it’s time to look into an application integration strategy.

  1. Load Balancing

Dividing the work that a computer needs to do between two or more computers should be a thing of the past. If it isn’t in your organization, look to the future and the increased efficiency that is possible. Your end-users shouldn’t need to operate “swivel chair” integration, either. It is inefficient to use multiple applications on various computers, shuffling back and forth to get the data they need. Getting more work done in the same amount of time can be achieved through a strong strategy around application integrations.

  1. Cloud Computing

Moving to the cloud can complicate integrations so you should have a plan in place, this includes hybrid clouds. The cloud opens up a lot of possibilities and many organizations are moving toward the cloud for data integrations. Your managers and employees in the field will be able to access the latest data on their mobile devices without a trip to the on-site office or trailer when integrations are hosted on the cloud or a hybrid cloud. Making sure you are ready to make the leap to the cloud will increase the benefits you reap from the cloud.

  1. Regulations

If your company has to uphold regulations such as HIPPA or others, an integration strategy could be beneficial. Regulatory changes may have to be made quickly and this organizational need can be built into your integration strategy.  This can keep headaches to a minimum each time a regulatory change is made. Audit trails are an important compliance liability for your company, as well when it comes to meeting regulations. The ability to track the chain of data operations from who, when and what was changed at each piece of information is essential and needs to be done independently from the application. If this is a need your organization has, an integrations strategy should be made.   Contact Ryvit for help getting started.

Enabling construction teams through software integration

Construction teams love it when a project plan comes together -- on time and under budget -- and they're not alone. Three-fourths of employees rate teamwork as "very important" and 40 percent said they would even pay out-of-pocket for digital tools to help them work together more efficiently.

When implemented properly, software solutions that enable construction teams can have a very real impact on the bottom line. In fact, 91 percent of contractors and owners say that real-time collaboration reduces risk and improves outcomes on projects. Additionally, three out of four construction industry experts agreed that data integration and coordination dramatically improved the customer experience by reducing uncertainty.

A customer's experience throughout the design and build process translates into how likely they are to come back for more projects and offer referrals, which are the lifeblood of a growing business in the AEC industry.

Here are three real-world examples of how software integration helps teams work smarter in the field and the back office, while also controlling costs and keeping everyone on track with project schedules.

  • Automate expense management and invoice approval - Imagine if your teams could submit expense reports directly from any device, in any location. The approving manager could sign off with a single click to generate AP Invoices for approved transactions. With solutions such as Concur Expense, this is already possible. Similarly, most construction companies struggle to efficiently process and pay vendor invoices in a timely manner without significant manual effort and overhead costs. By adopting software that automates the process of entering, reviewing, and approving vendor invoices, accounting teams can focus on more value-added activities while reducing invoice processing costs and improving expense compliance. Simply by integrating a best-in-class expense or invoice management software with your ERP, you can cut down on administrative overhead, improve real-time visibility into job costs, and reduce employee frustration associated with manual processes.
  • Assure mobile timecards and digitized forms drive data insights - Building on the above example, data integration can eliminate the lion's share of your manual paperwork. Convert timecards, site-specific paper forms, checklists, blueprints, etc. that are accessible on any mobile device. Data needing to be accessed and captured via mobile-friendly applications in the field should seamlessly flow right through into project, work order and equipment modules in your ERP system. By digitizing high-value business processes and enabling field teams with easy-to-use applications, you can begin harnessing the data to discover improve future projects.
  • Align project management and accounting - Accounting teams in the back office and project team in the field have very different needs in the applications they use every day. Construction leaders no longer need to settle for a single solution that meets the accounting requirements but is too complicated for project teams on the job site. Integrating best of breed project management solutions with your accounting systems brings real-time collaboration into project planning and execution. Project and accounting teams will work from a single source of truth yet have the freedom to use the most productive preferred solution.

While these examples are only the tip of the iceberg, they indicate a starting point for how construction companies can realize the promise of digital transformation in boosting efficiency, driving better outcomes, and ultimately better serving the customer.