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Integration is the New Killer App

chainAll around us companies are innovating. New web-based applications are cropping up faster than you can count. These applications, when used as a stand alone, can make life much easier.

However, the real power of an elegantly thought out application comes when two or more application providers find ways through APIs to get their applications to work in tandem.

This is classic multiplication at work here. When one app with a fan base can start working seamlessly with another app with a fan base, all the fans win and the organizations grow exponentially through cross pollination and an enhanced feature set.

This kind of thinking is something that needs to be baked in at the strategic layer of every business – online or off.

Below are 7 examples of web apps that multiply in value when you understand how to use them together.

  • Wishlist Member integrates with WordPress – to bring membership site capabilities to the world’s leading blog software
  • Flowtown integrates with Wufoo – to allow users to know a great deal about the social graph of anyone filling out a form.
  • Wufoo integrates with MailChimp – to allow users to create stunning forms and capture form data for marketing purposes
  • Constant Contact integrates with Flowtown – to allow email marketers to build CRM like social data into email capture
  • BatchBlue integrates with Klout – to score social clout of contact records
  • GoodReader integrates with DropBox – to allow readers of large PDF and Doc files to easily retrieve and read files on the iPad
  • Expensify integrates with FreshBooks – to allow business owners to easily capture expenses and then build them into invoicing and billing.

So the question is this – how can you design integration into your product, service or company in a ways that would allow you to . . .

  1. Work better together internally
  2. Find partners that could benefit from your offerings
  3. Host integrations from others to make your offering more powerful

Don’t constrict your thinking to the online apps used as illustrations above. This is thinking that a plumber or real estate agent can adopt as surely as an online iPhone app maker.

The key is to think in terms of partnering in ways that can take advantage of another firm’s customer base while offering something of value to all.

  • Could you integrate your financial planning methodology into the accounting process of a CPA firm?
  • Could you integrate your 37-point furnace check-up into the routine maintenance offering of a home inspection service?
  • Could you create a marketing evaluation process that would integrate into the new business account process for a regional bank?
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