For any business, finding the right software solutions can be the difference between getting things done efficiently and getting bogged down with an endless to-do list and limited resources. Thanks to advancements in cloud computing, digital resources that once required excessive upfront investments are now more readily accessible to business stakeholders than ever before.
From the way companies respond to customer needs and enhance collaboration among their teams to increasing access to new markets regardless of geographical constraints, software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs aren’t just helping businesses meet the challenges of their marketplaces – they’re enabling them in bold new ways.
Of course, when it comes to finding the right SaaS solutions, evaluating compatibility with existing capabilities can be the difference between success and failure. To help businesses reduce the trial and error of finding programs that work effectively together “out of the box” (or find solutions that work with what they may already have in place), we hand-picked 96 SaaS programs in 14 of the most popular categories today to determine which ones are optimized for integration and which play poorly with others. This evaluation was confined to programs exactly as they come out of the box and without any additional customizations. Our results reveal a trend that’s rapidly realigning the SaaS industry. In today’s market, software needs to connect to compete.
In this interactive graph, we’ve visualized the integrations SaaS programs can achieve through the top SaaS solutions, third-party integrations and even within the same family of software resources. Within this broad view, some companies and their products serve as specific hubs for integration. Using our tool, you can explore the 96 applications studied and all of the integrations they offer. Not sure where to start? You can sort by category as well as by specific software solutions to see the same results.
Drawing the Lines of Connection
Depending on which software solutions you are evaluating, you may find cross-functional integrations with other categories of SaaS programs. Here, using 96 solutions across 14 major categories, we’ve created an easy-to-follow matrix so you can see the kinds of connectivity you can expect from many of the products available to businesses today.
Based on our research, we discovered Business Intelligence (BI), Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools were among the most integratable with other software solutions. Specifically, we found CRM software to be particularly compatible with Enterprise Resource Planning products and Human Resource Management tools, representing a combined 9.8 percent of all integrations we found. CRM software has helped evolve the way businesses interact with their clients. Beyond keeping your customers’ details and contact information current and easily accessible, the right CRM tool can help you build more meaningful relationships with your customers and encourage lasting brand loyalty when utilized effectively.
In a similar vein, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which bring together different yet complementary software functionality within a single application suite, also ranked among the most widely connectable programs. According to one study, more than 80 percent of mid-sized and larger organizations are adopting an ERP system or have done so already. And if you already have existing ERP software solutions in place for your business, our study may be able to help you find incremental BI, CRM or other functionality that integrates effectively with the suite you are already utilizing.
Defining SaaS Categories
We’ve evaluated 14 of the most common software categories on the market today across industries. This guide will help you interpret the manner in which they connect to each other as well as other third-party software.
Building Bridges to Software Communication
When it comes to SaaS integration, some software solutions serve as “hubs” in their respective verticals, streamlining the results produced by other programs. For optimized integration, these applications should potentially form the cornerstone of your enterprise architecture given their ability to connect and communicate with other solutions.
According to our research, Business Intelligence (BI) solutions today are among the most versatile category hub for connection between other applications. Including programs like Domo, Looker and Sisense, BI and their companion business analytics (BA) toolsets help streamline knowledge production across the organization. Following BI programs, Customer Relationship Management tools (including products like Salesforce, Sage CRM and Oracle CRM) and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems ranked as leading hubs in integration between other siloed tools.
All-Inclusive SaaS Solutions
Some categories, such as Business Intelligence, demonstrate relative parity among companies, with integration leaders in tight competition. But others, including CRM and Business Process Management products, have a single titan leading the pack, especially when factors such as industry and company size are taken into account. Oracle, for instance, is one of the top CRM software providers for larger enterprises. It offers extensive integration to both in-house service solutions and third-party applications for its various products. This may be because the company’s approach to CRM is broadly encompassing, including the use of multi-channel commerce, marketing, sales, service, social media and configure price quote (CPQ) capabilities. This wide functionality set necessitates connections with a larger number of applications than more specialized competitors might require.
Similarly, the Salesforce Sales Cloud ranked as a major hub for integration with various third-party products in customer-facing functions as well as back-end processing categories. With solutions designed to be scaled up or down to meet organizational needs, Salesforce as a CRM can be applied to SMBs, nonprofits, governments and even startups. Product integration offered by Salesforce includes applications for managing sales functions, marketing, support and more – making Salesforce a broad solution covering a vast array of software needs for nearly every industry type. Other cross-functional programs providing company-wide integration to meet more than a single need included Microsoft Dynamics 365, Dynamics CRM and Power BI, as well as Oracle BI and SAP BusinessObjects.
When we studied which companies were mentioned most as potential integrations, some of the technology industry’s most recognizable names emerged. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online led the way, with 47 total integrations and only two percent of available connections coming from other first-party solutions. Oracle BI was close behind, while SAP BusinessObjects and Salesforce Sales Cloud rounded out the top four. These leaders reaffirm the value software developers see in partnering with big players.
While the many SaaS solutions studied offered a variety of integration platforms (more than 12 each, on average), we found Customer Relationship Management tools, Human Resource Management tools, and Business Intelligence programs featured the most products in the top 10 for number of integrations. Other software emerged as what could be considered industry outliers. Our Top 20 list revealed high levels of integration can be found in a number of software categories including FSM programs, SCM and Warehouse Management tools. Surprisingly, only one Enterprise Resource Planning and Marketing Automation solution out of several evaluated ranked among our top 20 for the number of integrations they offered to the programs we studied, making them possible standouts in their respective categories.
As new software solutions emerge, how quickly you integrate them into your business processes can be the difference between getting ahead and falling behind. According to some experts, the right software tools can be just as important as the employees hired to get things done.
To get a better sense of the integration offered by the 96 SaaS programs researched here, we averaged the total number of connected software solutions available in each major category. With nearly 23 available integrations, on average, many CRM software emerged as among the most easily accruable (and integrated) into your organization’s existing workflows. Similarly, BI solutions, followed by CMMS and SCM software solutions, offered the greatest range of interconnected compatibility.
Looking for integration information for a specific software solution in any of these categories? To help provide businesses with a broad sense of which applications may be the most versatile depending on their business needs, we’ve identified the leading SaaS programs in everything from Customer Relationship Management to Warehouse Management and Health and Medical Records based on how well they connect with other software solutions. To see them all, you can utilize our interactive display at the top of this page for a complete breakdown of each program and the other software solutions they connect with.
Products produced by Oracle ranked among the best in four categories, including Business Intelligence, Field Service Management, Human Resource Management and Supply Chain Management. With over 1,000 applications and 40,000 developers worldwide, software solutions designed by Oracle serve both internal and external customer needs by answering solutions for marketing, loyalty, talent management and work-life solutions all in one place.
Our study also revealed that certain software categories were significantly less likely to offer widespread integration to other applications. Between leading EHR and EMR software, the most advanced programs (Meditech, Advanced EHR and NextGen Ambulatory EHR) seemed to offer no more than eight integration options total.
Bridges Between Businesses
Understanding the value of in-network integration (or within the same family of software programs) also means acknowledging the solutions software cover when connected. While some of the programs researched offered above-average first-party interconnected platforms, not all solutions may satisfy every need your business experiences from a digital perspective.
Oracle and SAP solutions didn’t just offer the widest variety of products in the various categories looked at –they also had among the most expansive forms of integration with other programs for businesses employing their technology. Vendors like Epicor, SYSPRO and IFS offered more specialized software solutions (including Manufacturing Operations Management, Inventory Management and Distribution Management, for example), but they still provided many options for the integration of other SaaS categories to offer a more comprehensive solution.
Streamlined Solutions: How Businesses Benefit
If our results demonstrate anything, it’s that the trend toward SaaS integration transcends any single type of software. Indeed, we’ve found compatibility possibilities in nearly every product category studied, emphasizing the broad importance of “out of the box” integration to modern businesses. While some companies and industries have rushed far ahead of others, we can expect SaaS integration to continue in the years to come. In a progressively connected world, businesses will increasingly demand seamless interaction among their applications.
If you feel something is missing from our report or would like to add any software integrations we may have left out, we want to hear from you. By filling out the form below with your ideas, you can help us keep future resources as comprehensive as possible.
Across 14 categories, 96 solutions were chosen for this analysis. The products for this analysis were chosen by the experts at SelectHub based on a combination of RFIs and RFPs performed in the SelectHub platform, product comparisons and custom scorecards most requested by users, the number of community reviews, and how highly rated a product was. A focus was put on selecting the most evaluated solutions for every category. Anomalies were manually reconciled based on expert curation. NetSuite products were considered a part of the same family of in-network products as Oracle.
To find connections, we searched each software company’s website and cross-checked their publicized out-of-the-box software integrations to determine if the software had a successful direct (or in some cases, third-party) integration with another software program.
After collecting the data, we used an open-source analytics and mapping tool (Gephi) to visually present and interpret the network of integrations. Separate networks were created to look at not only all integrations found, but also integrations that excluded a connection to a parent company, integrations through a third-party application and connections that were solely a part of the same parent company.
Hubs are defined as nodes with a high degree of “betweenness centrality,” where degree is the number of connections that a node or, in this case, software has. The betweenness centrality is measured not by how many direct connections a node has, but whether it’s between important nodes in the network. A high betweenness centrality indicates a high level of authority, where the node acts as a broker between other members of the network, controlling a flow of information.
Fair Use Statement
We’re passionate about helping you find the right software for your business. If you think this research would be helpful for your colleagues or readers, you’re welcome to share this article or specific images herein for noncommercial purposes. Please include a link back to this URL so your audience can see the scope of our study in its entirety. (Plus, it gives credit where it’s due.)
SaaS Integrations Universe