All About Integration
Many of the companies Chekhub talks to already have several tools to help manage their business. The most common tools we see are Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Ticketing systems. The growth of SaaS offerings has allowed smaller companies to leverage the tool sets that we’ve previously only seen at larger “enterprise” companies. This has created a massive market of SaaS tools that focus on different aspects of a business’s operations and management. While this sounds like a huge improvement for companies, we commonly encounter problems that can occur with the adoption of these tools.
The most common issue we see is the lack of integration between different systems and processes inside of a company’s operations. The finance team may use a tool that is different from the operations team, while the service department might have a completely different platform. Eventually, the tools that were supposed to provide efficiency end up causing more work and confusion in the organization. Some may say ERP systems are the solution to this problem. This is true, ERP systems and suites can help align a business on a single platform. However, a lot of the ERP systems are costly and some of the components are not the “best in breed”. Certain ERP solutions may be great for manufacturing, but lack of features for field services. Others may be focused around the finance activities, but cause work between sales and customer support.
Face the Facts
So what’s the answer? We ask ourselves this question every day when we talk to customers that say things like, “We already have a ticketing system” or “We already utilize an EAM and can’t have our team managing two separate databases”. We’ve decided to accept that our product is not the “only” solution. Instead, it is “part of” the solution for an organization. The role we play often differs and depends on the type of company, their existing toolset, and the level of sophistication of the organization to adopt advanced toolsets. Many software providers have trouble coming to terms with this concept. They are typically on a mission to provide everything from A to Z. However, it’s difficult to be “all things to all people”. Mark Cuban put it simply, “Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them.”
APIs to the Rescue
More importantly than having a solution that provides every feature, function, or solves every problem for an organization is to find a solution that can work well with others. What we mean by this is that a solution that can be part of an ecosystem and adapt as your organization evolves. This can be accomplished through APIs that allow SaaS tools to integrate with other software systems. The advantage is each stakeholder in a company can choose the best solution for their team and the overall organization isn’t forced to sacrifice specific features for the sake of the entire organization’s toolset. The finance team can use the toolset that works best for them while sales, service, manufacturing, and other departments can use the toolset that works best for their mission.
At Chekhub, we started from the beginning designing a system that works well with other solutions. We have always approached the problem from the reality that we may not be the “only” solution, but that we will be a piece of the puzzle. We’ve worked to make this easier on our customers by recently launching an application on Zapier that allows all of our customers to easily connect Chekhub to thousands of other software products and tools. We have also created integrations with many other common SaaS tools, such as ServiceNow.