What should a fully integrated system include?

05 December 2018 by Naresh Raj

We hear about ‘system integration’ all the time but what does it mean exactly and what features should a fully integrated system include? Integrated systems can talk to each other and share data for the overall benefit of your organisation and members, whilst still allowing for all of them to be used separately if needed.

 

They are flexible systems and can be expanded and grow with you, as an organisation. For example, your organisation has grown, and you now offer events to your members, so you should be able to work with your CRM agency partner and get this built into your CRM system, as a fully integrated add on. Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows for this flexibility and change. The last thing you want is to be stuck on a legacy or bespoke CRM and membership management system which cannot adapt as you do.

The holy grail of system integration is having all of your data stored in one central place (i.e. your CRM system) with all other systems used to gather and store data and communicate with members connected to it.

Features of an integrated platform:

  • Open source or common coding language

This sounds a bit techy, but it’s crucial! Some CRM systems are written in quite complicated and proprietary language, essentially tying you into the CRM agency partner who set it up and making you reliant on them

  • Tried and tested solution

Now is not the time to be an early adopter of new technology. Look at what’s tried, tested and trusted amongst other professional bodies. Look at what platforms are established yet future-proofed and always leading the way

  • Ability to integrate most frequently used applications

Of course, whatever CRM you use needs to integrate with your other commonly used data platforms, such as finance systems and email automation platforms. But go beyond that, look for a CRM that integrates with ALL of the applications you use daily. Let’s face it, most of us use Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook, Excel and Word. Make sure your CRM can work with these seamlessly

  • Extendable and adaptable

You might not want to connect your HR or project management platforms to your CRM right now, but what’s to say you won’t want to in three years? Your CRM and membership management system should allow for this

  • Connected platform

We are all more digital-savvy than ever and are used to managing many of our lives online and through mobile apps so with this, expectations are higher than ever. We expect that everything is joined up with multiple ‘entry’ points and multi-direction data flows? What does this mean? Well take Netflix, for example. Not only can you watch programmes through a smart TV or media service, but you can access the services on your laptop and mobile, amongst other devices. Any preferences or changes to your account can be made online, in one place, which will take effect everywhere else. The same is true for your members, your CRM and your website. Your members expect to be able to manage their account on any of their devices wherever they may be. Integrating (or connecting) your website with your CRM has never been more important.

Want to know more about our integrated system solutions or perhaps watch a demo? Give us a call on 0845 544 2043 or email info@smartimpact.co.uk for more.

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