How Cloud Integration Can Streamline Your Business Operations

Big data services let small-business owners analyze massive amounts of data to make better business decisions without a hefty price tag. Here's how.

Your data is the cornerstone of your business, and that goes for employee, customer and company data. If you aren't using cloud integration, that data is likely harder to retrieve and use — and it's likelier to have errors as well.

As a small-business owner, your data is probably used for multiple purposes by multiple people. For example, salespeople need access to customer data to follow up on license renewals, while finance professionals use the same data for invoicing. However, sharing data can be complicated when you don't have a fully integrated cloud system.

It's possible that some of your employees use tools that are located on premise because a cloud version doesn't exist or you haven't yet moved the application. Perhaps you have multiple cloud-based systems, but their data storage isn't compatible. This can result in redundancy and inaccurate data.

Manual Extractions Lead to Errors and Outdated Data

Before cloud integrations became available, your only choice was to manually export the data out of one application and into another. This is time-consuming, complicated and messy. To make matters worse, the manual process provides many opportunities for errors. Since it doesn't happen automatically, the data is always out of date — by an hour, day or even a week — depending on how often the export/import happens. The situation doesn't go away with cloud-based computing, but in many ways becomes more complicated, because another variable is added to the already complex equation.

Cloud Integrations Let You Share Data Between Applications

By using cloud integration services, SMBs can simplify business operations. Integration essentially creates a bridge from one program to another so that the data can be shared between systems. Some integrations already exist between commonly used programs, while others must be customized for specific programs and data types. This applies when one application stores data on premise and the other in the cloud, as well as when both are cloud-based but incompatible.

One of the biggest benefits of cloud integration is that the data is updated automatically and in real time. This means that both programs have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information at all times — without employees having to perform manual extractions and updates. This ability has become even more important in recent years, as the work-from-home trend has required many small businesses to provide remote access to their data.

For example, salespeople might use an on-premise customer relationship management (CRM) system to track leads and customers, while employees who work on marketing efforts might use a cloud-based tool for campaigns. In order to generate personalized content, the marketers need the most updated prospect and customer data at all times. By using a cloud-integration service to allow both departments to share data, your marketing and salespeople both have access to the exact same data in real time.

By using cloud integration, you can further increase your company's productivity while ensuring that your data is error-free. When your entire team has access to the same data in real time, you're equipped with the tools you need to exceed expectations and create loyal customers.