Workplace integrations: the glue that holds your tech stack together

What happens when one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing? You’ve probably used that analogy at work when things don’t seem aligned. You might use it when you notice multiple teams duplicating each other’s work, data from different areas of the company existing in various forms, and incompatible software that makes daily work life harder.
Silos are one of the biggest challenges of the workplace experience. It seems that many companies spend a lot of time and energy breaking them down. But the most obvious cause of work silos might be hidden in plain sight. No matter how advanced your workplace technologies are, it’s a problem if they can’t talk to each other. At least not without a little help. That’s where integrations come in.

What exactly are integrations?

Integrations can get complex, so let’s take a minute to define exactly what they are and explain the difference between software integrations and physical integrations.
Integrations: Integrations link software to external applications or platforms so they can easily share information. This connection makes it possible to exchange data, ideally providing you with more features and functionality than you had before.
For example, marketing software provider HubSpot offers integrations with non-HubSpot tools like Gmail. Through HubSpot’s Gmail integration you can automatically record new accounts in HubSpot by sending an email, keep track of email history, and receive alerts when customers interact with your emails. Creating a bridge between these tools helps you keep track of emails and customer interaction, leading to smarter marketing campaigns.
  • Software integrations – These don’t require any physical components to connect. One software tool, system, or service easily transfers information to another.
  • Physical integrations – These require a physical component to connect. When we are talking about workplace technology, this could involve integrating software with physical door locks, screens, light switches, thermometers, meeting rooms, refrigerators, and more.

The benefits of workplace integrations

Businesses often look for one-off solutions for connecting their workplace technology. The problem is, you can’t get a good overall picture of what’s happening at your company without extensive analysis, constant monitoring, and reporting.
Don’t misunderstand—the various workplace tools you already have may be good what they do. But can you imagine how much better they would be if they could interact with each other? Workplace integrations can help companies achieve:
  • Greater transparency and visibility: Employees and managers can see what other teams are working on, which eliminates redundancies and provides better data
  • Higher employee productivity: Thanks to automated processes and better visibility, employees can work on high priority projects
  • Better use of IT employee time: Instead of small, time-consuming tasks, IT professionals can work on more challenging and valuable work
  • Improved system security: It’s easier and more effective to build security tools for a single system instead of many web tools, each with their own vulnerabilities
  • More efficient scaling: Adding offices in other cities? Do you have remote workers? An integrated system can have them up and running much faster

Why you need integrations—a few familiar scenarios

When you are evaluating your current workplace tech stack or looking to buy new software, there are a few general scenarios you may find yourself in:

You have one tool you rely on today, but you’re adding a new one soon

Your company currently relies on one powerful tool to do your job and you are about to add another. It’s crucial to your work that these two tools have the ability to exchange important information. For example, you use Salesforce to manage customer data, connect with customers, nurture leads, and provide customer service. You are about to implement Marketo, the popular marketing automation tool. Salesforce users can integrate Marketo to understand how sales-ready a customer is, nurture potential leads, and build email marketing campaigns.

You have a variety of tools and systems that need to connect now

The need for integrations is immediate. For example, you already have security, HR, sales, and visitor management systems in place. The problem is they are all operating separately and it’s become impossible to keep track of everything at once. You know exactly what types of tools you want to integrate with, you just need to find a central hub that offers the integrations you need to get connected quickly and streamline your day-to-day.

You are preparing to connect tools and systems in the near future

You are thinking months (or years) down the line about your workplace and your company’s growth. You are asking yourself: "What do I need to operate this office and keep everything on track?" This is your chance to prepare your workplace for the future. Right now, you may be most concerned about employee notifications and file storage. But tomorrow you may have larger security and Wi-Fi needs. It’s best to pick a workplace platform or suite of tools that is constantly developing new integrations to fit your needs.
Regardless of which camp you fall in, finding the right tools to integrate with now (and in the future) help you transform your workplace and the daily workflow of your employees.
Want to learn more about the types of tools you can integrate with and what you can gain from a workplace platform? Check out our latest ebook, The connected workplace: Breaking down the complex world of integrations.