PieSync CEO Ewout Meyns on the Future of Integration and Collaboration

PieSync CEO Ewout Meyns on the future of integration

PieSync is an integration tool that allows you to sync customer data across all of your business apps and devices. Like Unito, PieSync offers true two-way sync functionality, meaning essential information can flow between tools and teams. In November of 2019, PieSync was acquired by SaaS giant HubSpot — an important sign that the market is recognizing the importance of this type of integration solution. 

We spoke with PieSync’s founder and CEO Ewout Meyns about the future of workplace collaboration, and how integration is becoming an essential tool for businesses navigating this era of SaaS tool dominance.   

According to Gartner, the worldwide market for social software and collaboration in the workplace is supposed to double by 2023. How do you think this is going to change how we work?

To understand the exponential growth of social software and collaboration tools, we have to address the fact that companies have been moving towards a “bring-your-own-app” trend. This has boosted productivity because, thanks to the growing range of specialized applications, each team can choose best-of-breed applications to work with. 

As a result companies are currently using more than 40+ different apps to run their business. This completely changes the way we work! IT admins and team leaders face the challenge of managing all those different business tools, which nowadays would be virtually impossible without integration platforms. 

The need for integration is directly related to the size of your company’s software stack. The more apps you use, the higher the chance you’ll need to integrate them. iPaaS (integration platform as a service) providers have become a critical piece of the puzzle to streamline workflows between apps and ensure accurate data across departments.

Next to third-party integration tools, I think platforms like Slack are evolving to become the middleware of collaboration tools. If everyone is using different types of collaboration tools, it can easily get messy. But if you have Slack in the middle, integrated with all these tools, you’ll have an overview of what everyone is working on. That makes organizing and managing different teams a lot easier.  

At the same time, Gartner said the collaboration market is now more fragmented than ever. What do you think is the cause of that fragmentation?

I think two of the main causes for the collaboration market to be so fragmented are: the increase in the number of applications being launched every day and the focus these apps are taking. 

It has never been easier to build and distribute software. In the past, you had to buy your own servers and manage your own infrastructure. Now we see startups around the world releasing new apps almost on a daily basis.

On the other hand, most of these apps seem to be focusing on nailing a specific feature, while historically software applications like ERP systems were trying to create a single application to manage your entire business. 

To efficiently run your business, you will need to find the best-of-breed apps and build your own technology stack. But when it comes to building these stacks, marketers face the challenge of connecting all the disparate systems to avoid isolated islands of data. 

Data silos are one of the biggest organizational problems you can have. As a manager you can’t rely solely on intuition, you need to make data-driven decisions. But if your different teams are working with discrepant data, their decisions won’t be aligned towards a common goal.  

And what’s the solution to that problem?

Third-party SaaS integration platforms can help you glue your stack together and keep your data streamlined and accurate.

Third-party integration platforms are on the rise, but many business owners still look at their business software providers for integrations solutions. The role of SaaS applications like CRMs, marketing platforms or social software is directing their efforts towards making specific business processes efficient and easy to manage. 

The people behind these applications are aware of the importance of integration, but they are relying on third-party integration platforms like PieSync, Unito, and Zapier, working in the background to empower their platforms with quality-data and, consequently, their users’ entire software stack. 

You often hear of integration when talking about enterprises, but how can small and mid-sized businesses benefit from integration?

When larger enterprises integrate their software, they typically hire an engineering team to build integrations between all the different systems. Some enterprise integration platforms like MuleSoft or Dell Boomi are well-known. But smaller businesses don’t have the resources or the budget to hire an army of engineers or afford those solutions. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from integration. 

Solutions like PieSync, Unito, and Zapier have developed easy-to-use products and made integration accessible to small and mid-sized businesses. The approach is slightly different, but the result is enabling these companies to enjoy all the benefits of integration. 

You also often hear of tool integration in the context of “time saved,” but it can have a major impact on the bottom line as well, correct?

Getting your data integrated indeed saves you time because it relieves a lot of manual work. But the impact on the ROI of your platforms is just as important. If, for instance, you have your CRM’s customer data in sync in real-time with your marketing platform, you will be able to tailor your marketing messages and target the right people with the right messages.

Using integration platforms to create a real-time 360-view of your customer data in each of your applications will increase the ROI of your SaaS stack.

How does PieSync use two-way sync internally?

Our CRM gathers a lot of contact information about our customers and partners, as well as their interests, areas of expertise, etc. On the other hand, our email marketing tool collects a lot of relevant feedback on our marketing communications. That’s why we use two-way sync to integrate our CRM with our email marketing platform. 

To segment our customers and partners within the marketing platform, we use information stored in our CRM. That way we can easily reach out to partners with relevant and personalized email communications. All this happens automatically in the background. So our marketing team can always rely on well-segmented and up-to-date email lists. 

A big thank you to Ewout Meyns for sharing his insights!