Is now the time to move your integrations to real time?
By Brett McKee
The integration options for councils have changed significantly in the last 3 years with both the cost and options for integrating in real time having advanced significantly.
My verdict, a resounding yes! But why…
Most local authorities haven’t caught onto the revolution going on in relation to real-time integration and the benefits that real-time processing can provide. Here are a couple of things to consider (and the significantly reduced cost is only one factor):
You may be losing revenue for paid for services like trade waste, skip bins, pest control
These services often require matching an online order form, with a payment and scheduling with the back office but due to the administrative time in matching these up, many councils force potential customers to wait up to a month before providing a service. Unfortunately customers are usually calling as they need their trade bin collected or need pest control services immediately and councils lose out on revenue.
Providing updates to customers in real-time promotes trust
But trust isn’t bankable right.? Wrong… Customers that request a service and are told in real time what the service level agreement is and get regular updates aren’t likely to call your contact centre, it promotes trust, and engenders further digital uptake, reducing costs further
Whilst the amount of data we have available has exploded in recent years, we are now also seeing smart sensors and devices explode at a similar rate. Whilst local authorities have had limited exposure to these types of sensors they will now be prolific and being able to connect data from sensors in real-time will quickly become a mandatory requirement for all organisations.
Removing the time delays and removing anxiety
We have one customer that is currently giving their customers their account balances but these can be a number of days behind. Moving to real-time integration has the opportunity to dramatically reduce the anxiety customers have that their payment hasn’t been processed in time.
Decreases the complexity of your IT estate and reduces longer term development costs
Many organisations have started to develop their API strategies for joining up systems but most are still very much doing point to point integration., often because suppliers will give a cheaper or free integration where they have already joined systems. Initially this looks like a great investment but if you would like to push all of this information to another location, like a data lake for performance monitoring or business intelligence, then you will have to pay again and of course you will need to maintain each integration. So if you already have a real-time integration platform in place you will likely have greater flexibility and decreased costs.