Summary: The article highlights the benefits of integrating different tools used by multiple teams within the company. Not only this solution saves time, but it also increases productivity and cuts costs.
Nowadays, there is a huge number of various tools that help digital (and not only digital) businesses to achieve seamless and coordinated work across multiple departments. A modern company often uses a whole stack of tools for various purposes — project management, marketing, finance, sales, development, auditing, and so on. These tools automate most processes within the company and help employees save as much time as possible. But sometimes, the tools that should save time take it away instead.
This is the case when a large number of people from different teams work together. The available tools should be used in a unified manner in order to enjoy the main benefit — saving time. But if departments or teams use different tools, it can cause huge delays in delivering projects. Integration is a solution that can help deal with such consequences.
What is software integration?
Software integration helps perform the work faster and better. There are several methods that you can use to connect tools. It can be a custom integration platform developed for a specific project. Or, there may be a simpler option in the form of ready-made solutions or add-ons that combine, for example, several Jira instances into a single board.
One way or another, software integration is necessary to successfully work on projects that combine large teams that have their own ecosystem, tools, and customs. Psychologically, it is possible to quickly combine such teams into one, but it is extremely hard to merge their workflows into a single mechanism. Integration can help companies not only synchronize the work of different departments but also improve casual day-to-day processes.
How does integration save time?
In order to better understand how integration saves you time, let’s consider one of the most common cases in IT outsourcing companies.
Client + development team (+ sales)
A client contacts an outsourcing company with the request to allocate a certain number of developers for project implementation — for example, a mobile application.
Let’s say that on the client’s side, there is a small team of specialists, primarily designers. They decided to involve a team of mobile developers to help implement the idea. Let’s also assume they are using Salesforce as their main project management system.
At the same time, developers from the outsourcing company use Jira from Atlassian to control their workflow and track issues. They also use Toggl to track their logged hours. These tools are well-known and are leaders in their segment.
Both teams have to work together to develop the application. And if so, several conditions must be met to successfully complete the work on time:
- Risk minimization (or making them predictable)
- Cuts in time and resource spendings
- Constant control over the workflow and costs
To ensure that these conditions are met, full synchronization of the work of both teams is required. If one side uses Salesforce, and the other opts for Jira, it is extremely difficult to ensure control since data is generated in two or three systems at the same time. In addition, this results in extra costs and time expenditures. Project managers and other specialists are forced to constantly switch from one platform to another in search of data on the task or issue, its status, or the time spent on it. So, how to achieve synchronization?
Set harsh deadlines
This is a purely psychological aspect that contributes to motivation. Setting tight deadlines is an incomprehensible process at first because no one yet understands how much time it will take for this or that task. If the tasks are eventually completed faster, setting seemingly impossible deadlines is a good idea. After completing the assignment within such a tight timeframe, the team and PM will receive a large dose of additional motivation to meet other goals. However, in no case should they sacrifice quality in the pursuit of speed.
Connect management tools
When several teams use different project management tools, integration would be the most logical option. Of course, you can abandon this idea and simply agree on transitioning to a single platform. However, this will inevitably cause inconvenience among those people who have been using another tool. In addition, this will immediately lead to delays in routine tasks like tracking time, logging hours, working with tickets, and so on.
The use of integration platforms that offer ready-made or custom solutions is the best way to save time significantly. Having performed the integration, all teams will continue working with their usual tools, while the information from them will be stored on one platform. Thus, managers will significantly reduce the cost of their effort as they no longer have to jump from platform to platform in search of a comment or other details. Moreover, they will avoid transferring data to a single source of truth manually. As a result, the working process gets more agile, transparent, and easy-to-scale.
For example, Hootsuite, a popular SMM automation tool, can be integrated with over 150 other applications!
As a wrap-up, it should be highlighted that integration and synchronization of tools are a time-saver not only in the situation when different teams are involved. This can be useful within a single team that is working remotely. The goal is to come up with the universal toolkit so that everyone — be it an ordinary employee or a product owner — would minimize the waste of their time and automate tedious tasks whenever it is possible.