Data Integration with Zoho Creator

Access to information shouldn’t be a drag.

Usually, businesses use legacy systems located on premise, cloud software, or a combination of the two. Integration connects these various systems so that they can send and receive information between them.

Integration strategies optimize productivity. For example,

1. vertical (connecting the manufacturing process with supply and distribution processes),
2. personnel (connecting the management and employees), and
3. data integration (connecting various data sources)

That’s why for a business, regardless of industry and ideology, integrating data is critical.

How do I know if my business needs integration?

Businesses aren’t all the same. They cater to different audience and have varying workflows and processes.

What unites small, medium, and large enterprises, though, is that they process data—however varying the volumes are. And so based on its size, each business may be at a different stage in integrating their data.

For example, small and medium businesses need integration to access customers details from their help desk system. Nonprofit organizations need to match their accounting with their donors’ information.

Even large multi-departmental enterprises using different software for marketing automation, sales, and help desk need to ensure data flows without missing out on anything.

What is the purpose of integrating?

Apart from ensuring undisrupted access to information, there are two reasons for a business to integrate data.

1. Reporting and analytics

Business software don’t share databases. If you’re using different vendors for a CRM, a business insights tool, and a supply chain management app, there’s either incomplete information or duplicates in all three databases.

Without proper insight into monthly, quarterly, or annual numbers, this makes it difficult to evaluate your performance. When you integrate these apps, though, you can assemble your key performance indicators in a proper business dashboard—an essential element to optimize operations. [link to dashboards blog]

2. Processing and automating workflows

Integrating across apps saves a ton of time that you’d otherwise spend manually looking up information from various sources. Once you streamline the flow of information, you can set up a process—a workflow.

For example, when you enter a new sale in your system, that can trigger the creation of a new customer profile in your CRM system, and send out a welcome email to the customer through your email campaign system. And all you would’ve done is click on a button. That’s the power of integration.

Is it really as easy as that?

Although pivotal to your business, the integration process poses a few challenges.

Enterprise apps use different languages and operating systems – Your tools for CRM, task management, and help desk all use different languages like Python, Java, Javascript, and C#, making it tedious to connect them all. It’s not impossible, but it takes time.

Enterprise apps use different database structures – Every software in the market has its own development structure and preferences. Some rules of app development are, by themselves optional and depend on the developer’s choice. And so to have conflicting software speak to one another is rather a large roadblock to integrating.

Newer systems don’t support certain legacy systems – If you store compliant-requiring data on your premises, and also use a few different cloud or installed software, integrating these rigid platforms could be difficult.

Even though enterprise apps make integration so complex that you might not want to do it, the benefits of integrating are invaluable. Imagine:

You’ll have consistency across your organization. Every department and every team will have access to the data they need, when they need it.

Your teams don’t have to master multiple apps to access a single piece of information. You can give your delivery team a separate mobile app with customer names and addresses so they don’t have to learn to navigate the CRM system you implemented.

In the long run, looking for information across millions of data points will be a breeze.

How do I go about integrating?

Your IT team can help integrate your apps. They will take either of these two approaches:

  • use a third-party integration platform
  • develop a solution in-house

Whichever way you choose to integrate, consider two main things.

What—Though it sounds ideal to integrate every piece of data in a business, this often isn’t the case. Understand which data you need to integrate and which you don’t. For example, if you’re running a retail business, you would integrate your inventory system with your accounting system, but you wouldn’t integrate it with your human resources system.

When—Speed is crucial for any application. Not only does that improve your users’ experience with your data system, but it also influences adoption of it. That’s why you need to prioritize when and which data you will integrate. For instance, you can sync data during off-business hours so that users aren’t bogged down by slow processing speeds at work.

Data integration in Zoho Creator.

It’s automatic. Every app you build is natively integrated from the get go. Whether you build from scratch or install one of our ready-to-use apps, all of them share the same database to store your information. Imagine this as a common storage unit for your Zoho Creator subscription. You can build and install countless* apps that send and receive information from the same source.

For example,

If you build or install these apps:

  • Recruitment Tracker
  • Employee Management
  • HRMS
  • Program Manager
  • Leave Tracker
  • Corporate Travel Management

You don’t have to worry about integrating your workplace operations.

If you build or install these apps:

  • Franchise Management
  • Quotation Management
  • Point of Sale
  • Sales Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Order Management
  • Logistics Management

You don’t have to worry about integrating your customer/vendor operations

If you build or install these apps:

  • Email Campaign
  • Tasks Done
  • Content Review
  • CRM
  • Call Logs
  • Bug Tracker

You don’t have to worry about integrating your sales and marketing operations

Thanks to our unified database model, Zoho Creator makes integration a no brainer.

If you’re already using other software that you’d like to communicate with your Creator apps, you can take advantage of our built-in integration as well as our REST API.

Give us a try.

*applicable in our Ultimate pricing model.