Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

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The Solve360 Xero Integration: CRM, Accounting, and Why Integrating Cloud Software is The Way Forward

Business software is changing. The huge, on-premise, all-in-one systems of yesteryear are giving way to smaller, sexier, cloud-based systems (well, maybe not sexy). As the Solve360 and Xero integration shows, the best way forward for small business owners requires choosing the right systems—and making sure they integrate well.

The old approach—go big or go home

Business software has come a long, long way.

Business software has come a long, long way. Image courtesy of Siyelo.

In the nineties, small businesses had two options: spend obscene amounts of money on all-in-one software systems (here’s looking at you Sage…) or spend no money and use paperclips and sticky notes. Both options sucked.

Fortunately, with the last decade’s shift towards cloud computing, prices have dropped and quality has risen. Salespeople have dozens of good CRMs to choose from: project managers have their pick of task management and PM systems: accountants are no longer stuck with Quickbooks. It’s a fundamentally different (and better) software scene.

Every peach has worms though. While software solutions have sprung up everywhere, they’ve tended to be specialized, narrowly focused systems. This makes siloed data a serious issue: business owners have multiple programs managing different aspects of their businesses, without the programs working together. It’s an inefficient infrastructure.

That’s why quality integrations are so important. A small engineering team building a project management tool or CRM can’t also build a kick-ass accounting tool or helpdesk service—but they can build integrations.

A better approach—working together

Consider Solve360—one of our favorite CRMs—and Xero, the leading cloud-based accounting tool (disclaimer: Yes, we work with both vendors, though we don’t receive kickbacks. It’s just great software).

Software "API's" let systems work together.

Software “API’s” let systems work together.

CRMs like Solve360 are really, really great for sales. They let you track and manage opportunities, automate follow-ups, and, in Solve360’s case, provide basic project management functions once the sale is complete. Brilliant.

The issue is invoicing and accounting. Out of the box, Solve360 doesn’t (and shouldn’t—more on that later) provide for bookkeeping. Why would it? Unfortunately, this means business owners have to manage their books in another system—creating redundant entry of contacts, and isolating purchase history from sales. Not ideal.

That’s where Xero comes in. Because both Solve360 and Xero are cloud based—and because they both have “open APIs”—they can integrate, removing the data silo problem. And that’s exactly what they do.

Integrations like the one between Solve360 and Xero help take the pain out of decentralized systems.

Integrations like the one between Solve360 and Xero help take the pain out of decentralized systems.

Using the native Solve360 / Xero integration, users can create an opportunity in Solve360, then, once the sale is complete, turn the opportunity into an invoice in Xero (and the lead into a contact, if they don’t already exist). Existing clients can have their invoice history displayed in Solve360, while contacts in Xero have a link back to their Solve360 page. Simple, effective, painless.

We use the Solve360 and Xero integration on a daily basis here at VM—as do many of our clients. It makes life a lot easier. Where before we managed two separate datasets—one in the CRM, one in Quickbooks—-now we have one contact database (Solve360) that pushes and pulls information from our accounting tool (Xero). We manage contacts and sales centrally, and when it’s time to invoice, one click and we’re on a pre-filled invoice screen, ready to bill.

This is how software should be. It’s a tool to help you get business done—good integrations enable you to do what you’re already doing, just better.

This is the way of the future

It’s true that not all integrations are as great as the Solve360 and Xero integration. It’s also true that some business owners—and many of the clients that come through our doors—want everything in one place. Not three systems, not two systems: one system.

We understand that position. The advantages are obvious: if the system does everything, there’s no need for multiple systems and the bother they bring, however minimal.

Problem is, all-in-one systems (we call them gorilla systems) pretty much suck. Always. Ever used one? Salesforce, Netsuite, Zoho—they’re a usability nightmare. Just because they advertise everything under the sun, doesn’t mean they do it—any of it—particularly well.

Instead of asking engineering teams to be the best at everything, we need only ask that they be the best at one thing—and integrate with the best of the rest.

Yes, this means you have several different programs, instead of one. No, it doesn’t always work perfectly. It just happens to be the best way forward.

It’s also the only way forward. This is the way the future is going. If you’re a small business owner looking to setup a software system, choose your components wisely: software integrations matter. Look for integrations like Solve360 and Xero that make actual work easier—just like software is supposed to do.

Now if you’ll excuse me, we have some invoices to send…

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VM Associates is a New York City cloud computing consulting firm. We help companies transition into newer, better, smarter software. Contact us to talk about your business, the cloud, and how we might help.

The post The Solve360 Xero Integration: CRM, Accounting, and Why Integrating Cloud Software is The Way Forward appeared first on VM Associates.

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More Stories By Chris Bliss

Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.