Integration or Bust: The High Cost of Separate Systems

As the business world evolves, it continues to move away from analog processes in favor of digital. Technology companies have sprung to life to meet the challenge (and reap the profits) associated with helping brokers make the transition. Thousands of products are displayed charismatically at conferences around the U.S. and Canada by players big and small who profess to have the “next big thing,” or a “ground-breaking product.” Hoards of agents and brokers often scramble eagerly to take ownership of the promising new tool that will give them a leg up on the competition.

In the age of instant gratification and digital distribution, careless investments are being made routinely to purchase the “shiny new object.” Less care and time is dedicated to pragmatic prioritization of business needs than would be prudent and helpful. Smart power brokers, however, are increasingly deciding to take a different approach – a holistic approach with strong regard for the bottom line benefits. They’re looking for a strong solution that has evolved over time, not the untested “next best thing.”

Without a doubt, the value of implementing technology to revamp old processes, reduce redundancies, provide innovative client support methods and improve operational efficiency will allow brokerages to differentiate themselves. Furthermore, these new technologies empower agents to do their jobs in ways that would have not been possible prior. However, as the tidal wave of products and services continues to grow, brokers need to keep in mind the cost associated with having too many systems that do not integrate.

Integration is an emerging pitch in the enterprise technology industry – and for good reason. If you decide to purchase and implement a new stand-alone CRM system into your business, you want that solution to be compatible with your lead capturing, management and generation systems. If it isn’t compatible, how many hours and resources will you have to invest in manually inputting data collected from those systems?

The necessity of system integration and communication among different solutions is even more acute in operational software. The value of accounting, reporting and transaction management software systems diminishes rapidly when incompatibility issues impede their ability to increase efficiencies and reduce error rates (which are the main selling points, by the way). If your accountants were previously using QuickBooks™, and the new system can’t pull data from that program, you are going to have some very unhappy employees and a much longer integration process.

Frustrated employees aside, the reality is that integration of disparate software and technology systems is crucial to realizing the gains that these products promise. Purchasing complimentary systems, or at least systems that can communicate, should be embedded into your overall value calculations before making purchasing decisions going forward. Failure to weigh the costs will later be realized in the bottom line.

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