If you’ve been following my series of blog posts about the changing landscape of business software, then you know we’ve covered a lot. If you’ve missed any, you can find all my previous posts here on our blog. For this post, I’d like to cover the impact and importance of integration — how to connect business software applications together so information flows freely and accurately from one to the other.
As we all know, our world is becoming more connected than ever. With a push of a button, users can share data, news, pictures and digital content across multiple applications and platforms. We expect our personal apps to connect with one another, and we’re beginning to expect this out of our business software too.
This connected world is further realized when we read stories about companies like Facebook and Google, who are continually acquiring other platforms or applications to give their users the ability to connect their favorite apps to each other or the ability to use their mobile device to control other devices, like the rapidly growing trend of connected homes.
The simple reality today is that no business software can afford to live on an island or be a standalone system anymore. Connected apps are better apps, plain and simple. Salesforce and their AppExchange platform is the ideal example of how a connected application is a better application.
Citizen Developers Make Business Software Connect
This trend towards connected apps will continue to accelerate as the next wave of business applications makes it even easier for Citizen Developers to connect apps with clicks, not code. Instead of using APIs to connect systems together, Citizen Developers will be able to use no-code integrations done with simple clicks. Just imagine a button or set-up wizard that walks a businessperson through a series of questions and steps to connect their Salesforce with TrackVia or Hubspot or ZenDesk.
Of course, there will always be a need to have a productized API with published SDKs for heavy integrations into back-end corporate systems. And these “heavy” API integrations are getting easier for professional IT people or developers with technologies like MuleSoft or SnapLogic. However, I believe these API-centric connections will become the minority integration path in the near future.
The new norm will be business users, Citizen Developers, integrating business software themselves using simple drag-and-drop technology. The fact is that most business users just need to make simple connections. For example, when a new record is captured into System A, make a copy of that record in System B.
TrackVia has already pioneered the “no code” application platform. We’ve also been on the forefront of making it drop-dead simple to connect a TrackVia Web or mobile application with virtually any other cloud-based business software. What used to require a developer and several weeks to do, can now be done by a non-technical business user with a few simple mouse clicks in a matter of minutes.
Companies like Zapier and IFTTT are key technologies helping simplify this process for non-programmers with a no-code API platform. Using these platforms’ simple and highly visual set-up wizard allows business people to connect their apps together to ensure accurate and secure data transfer, as well as streamline workflow processes.
For example, a TrackVia customer who manufacturers 3-D printers recently built a workflow management application and connected it with their CRM system. When a new order is received into the CRM system, the customer data and order specs are instantly moved into the TrackVia workflow application they built, allowing them to track, manage and measure the process for manufacturing and delivering the customers’ order.
One-click integrations between business applications is the future. And that’s a very exciting thing.
Keep tweeting us at @trackvia — what business processes or apps do you wish you could connect?