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The Pivotal Role of Integration in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. ~ The Enterprisers Project

From Integration to Digital Transformation

Integration is a theme that not only marks the need for tech tools to work together, but also for previously siloed departments to join forces. In a data-driven world, where customer experience (CX) determines whether a business wins or loses, organizations can’t afford for marketing, sales, operations, and customer care, etc. to go about business as usual. Dion Hinchcliffe, the Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research states it this way, “transformations [must go] well beyond just solving the myriad problems with fragmented and disjointed digital touchpoints.” Hinchcliffe says that C-suite leaders (CIO, CMO, COO, etc.) must overcome the issues involved in creating a more integrated customer experience. “This means creating genuine master data out of the dozens, and often hundreds, of the poorly integrated or disconnected digital platforms,” said Hinchcliffe. In short, CMOs must both pioneer and continually champion the need for connected data sources across all departments.

Fostering Better B2B Integrations

Just as martech has experienced phenomenal growth, so have B2B integrations. In the past, most marketing operations teams were dependent on IT in order to integrate different systems, tools and platforms. However, now marketers have at their disposal integration platforms that simplify the process of connecting data sources in-house and in the clouds. The more advanced versions of integration platforms feature both pre-built integrations (for connecting to popular tools), as well as the opportunity to build your own integrations. Ideally, your integration platform should enable you to centralize the management of all your integrations through a user-interface that your marketing ops team finds intuitively easy to use. This, in turn, will help foster adoption and a greater return on the investment you make in your integration platform.

The Data-Driving Case for a Well-Connected Martech Stack

Before you can leverage data from your martech to take more informed actions, you need to know that your data is current and complete. If you’re thinking, your data management tool is the answer to this problem, you are half-right. The other extremely important part of the equation is integration. If the data being prepped for use by your data management tool is not connected to all the other data sources in your company, your data is not current and it certainly isn’t complete. Your integrations should enable you to see the big picture, and this requires everything to be connected. It is impossible to make data-informed decisions when every department in the company is using different information.

B2B Integration Flight Check-List

Although prebuilt integrations often make the process of connecting tools a simple and automated process; it is still a process that requires thought, time and effort. As you connect the various technologies in your stack, take time to think beyond simple connections and instead focus on what you would like for each integration to accomplish. To help you do this, we’ve assembled a seven-step integration checklist:

  1. List the types of data currently available to you, as well as data you would like to have
  2. Decide what data you want systems to exchange
  3. List the KPIs that you want to monitor
  4. Use a pre-built integration or configure a custom integration to connect your tech
  5. Map the flow of data and user workflows, noting all manual steps
  6. Track how the integration impacts users and customers
  7. Look for opportunities to improve integrations on a regular basis

Big Benefits of a Well-Connected Martech Stack

In the event you find yourself needing to make the case for connecting data sources across your company, here are eight exciting benefits integration enables you to seize:

  • Increase efficiency via streamlined workflows
  • Automate processes and save time and money
  • Know where customers are in their journey
  • Increase productivity and reach goals faster
  • Access actionable data in real-time
  • Reduce reliance on IT
  • Eliminate time-consuming manual processes
  • Deliver a consistent CX across all channels

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