Cloud software integration: avoid the DIY pitfalls

As a business owner, you’ll be used to wearing many hats. Chances are you’re juggling the role of manager, salesperson, marketer, operations and accountant (and more) all in one - particularly if you’re small or just starting out.

Cloud software has made it easier to do all of this, however getting the right workflow set up is key to ensuring you’re able to focus on what really matters. This is where a cloud integrator can add huge value to your business.

What is a cloud integrator?

In essence, a cloud integrator is an IT consultant. They’ll help you select the right cloud-based tools for your business requirements and set them up for you, ensuring that your software automates certain processes that you’d otherwise have to handle yourself.

For example - if you’re an ecommerce retailer, a cloud integrator might integrate your Shopify website with DEAR (inventory management software) and Xero, ensuring stock levels are in sync and that all online purchases are automatically captured in your accounts.

If you’re a creative agency or design studio, the process might involve integrating Xero with WorkflowMax (job management software) so that time and costs captured against a project are automatically loaded into Xero and invoiced on to a client.

Getting your cloud software to ‘talk’ can lessen your admin as a business owner, as well as the likelihood of making costly mistakes through manual data entry.

Why should I use a professional instead of doing it myself?

Time savings. A cloud integrator can work quickly to select and implement the best software setup for your business. Contrast this with trying to do it yourself and the resulting opportunity cost. Getting someone well versed in cloud software to take the burden off is a worthwhile investment.

Nailing your software selection. An experienced cloud integrator will ask you the right questions to ensure the software you're considering will meet your needs. Better yet, they may rule out a software solution that seems great on the surface but doesn't cater to one critical element of your business or processes.

Go beyond a feature comparison. Cloud integrators can add so much more value than what a scan of various websites and comparison tools can offer. How? They’ll take the time to understand your business and determine what’s right for you specifically. For example, a provider’s website might state their software offers job scheduling, but this may be missing key features you need. At the other end of the scale, it’s possible that you might not need functionality as advanced as you think. This is where a integrator can help you get the most mileage out of your software based on your budget.

Avoid pitfalls. Experienced integrators can often predict, and therefore prevent, potential issues before they become a problem. By asking the right questions and using their experience to avoid common implementation mistakes could save you days of wasted effort setting up your software incorrectly.

Change management. For a new cloud-based operational setup to work effectively, staff need to embrace the change. A cloud implementer will help you manage this with your team and ensure comprehensive training is provided.

Ongoing support. While most software solutions provide support, the quality and responsiveness of this support is highly variable. Not only can a cloud integrator provide technical assistance, they’ll also know how your software has been configured and how you are using it. This makes it easier to troubleshoot any issues if and when they arise.

Get the most out of your software. Many cloud-based software tools have powerful reporting capabilities that are often underutilised. A good integrator will ensure your business data is set up appropriately for reporting purposes, giving you access to valuable business insights you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Whether you’re an established business or just starting out fresh, an integrator can help you select the best cloud software for your needs and avoid the common hassles of DIY set up. In addition, they’ll show you how to harness the reporting capabilities of your software, helping you access valuable insights you could use to refine your operations and business performance.

Chung Hui

Melbourne, VIC
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