If you're in staffing, you probably use a software system advertised with the ubiquitous adjective  "integrated."  

What does "integrated" mean?   Where did this term come from and why is it so popular with marketers?

"Integrated" at its simplest means "various parts coordinated".   In marketing, it conveys a product that 1) coordinates different parts, 2) helps prospective users by doing so, and 3) stands out from expected features of products in that category.

Hence, "integrated" is everywhere in technology marketing.   Google yields 30 million results from "integrated software."   "Integrated staffing software" gets you a mere 16 million.   

But I'd wager that few of those 16 million hits reference a product that today fulfills all three criteria above.   Marketers keep on using word, but it does not mean what they think it means.

 

Some background.

Back in the 1970s, my Dad and I wrote a pay/bill precursor to Tempworks Software, and we marketed it as "integrated" because, unlike generic accounting software at the time which had distinct pay and bill modules, we had eliminated the need for double entry.

Fast forward 20 years, and in 1995 we marketed Tempworks as "integrated" because it coordinated front office with back office, something most systems at the time didn't do.  

But those differentiators of 1975 and 1995 no longer stand out.  Nearly every product in the staffing software market has them.  Those features are not worthy of the word "integrated."  

It's like calling a phone "integrated" because it does both phone calls and texts.   It makes no sense because almost every product already does it.

Things move quickly in the technology space.   Phone systems, texting, social media, email, artificial intelligence, responsive design all have matured inexorably in recent years.  Does your software integrate with them?   

If not, it doesn't make since to call it integrated.   If your phone system is separate from your staffing software, you're running on multiple operating systems.   

If your texting is done outside of your staffing software, you have yet another operational system.

Same goes for your apps...is there a different one for mobile than for desktop?   If so, you may not have what constitutes another operational system, but you've got yet another component requiring training and upkeep.

Same thing goes for robo-calling, Facebook inquiry responding, document management, sales lead handling and email marketing.

No, your software is not "integrated."