There has been a lot of talk recently about integration platforms and how they are changing the way companies integrate their software applications. This is particularly so among small and medium size businesses, who previously could not afford the price or time to have their systems connected. To give you some food for thought if you’re considering using an integration platform for your company, we’ve taken a few points from our Small Business Software Integration For Dummies ebook on what to look for in a software integration platform.

Does It Support the Applications You Use?
It goes without saying that you need the application integration platform you choose to have connections between the software you use. Check that the platform provider focuses on apps that are really crucial to your business, because these are the systems that will help your company to become more efficient. If the platform does not support an app you use, most of the providers welcome suggestions and can add new apps quite quickly.

Can You Customise Integrations to Match Your Own Processes?
Although all platforms have ready-made connections between apps, most businesses have some specific processes or need data to be mapped between systems in a certain way, which may not fit the ready-made integrations. Ensure the platform has the flexibility to customise and tailor workflows to suit your processes using conditional logic (think, ‘if this, then that’) so you don’t have to change your business processes or the ways in which you use your software.

Does It Truly Keep Your Data Synchronised?
Most platforms simply copy new data records that are created in one app and then replicate it in the other app. The problem occurs when that record is subsequently updated (when an address or email is changed, for example) because those changes will not be picked up, meaning your records are yet again out of sync. Although this question is an absolutely critical one to consider, many people don’t actually do so. To avoid making their mistake, make sure that the platform you choose offers continuous data synchronisation of both new records and updates to your existing records.

We’ll give you some more pointers of what to look for in a software integration platform next week.