David J. Cord
It’s a dream come true. You’ve finally opened that bookstore you have always wanted. You buy inventory and invest in all the systems you need.
Then, the nightmare begins. Your accounting software doesn’t work with your logistics system, which in turn doesn’t match with your webstore.
The inability of different systems to work together is a depressingly common occurrence, but now an innovative new integration solution has been developed by Finnish company Flashnode.
“The unfortunate fact is that most SMEs still do a lot of manual work, copy-pasting customer and order information from their webshop to their accounting, for example,” says Tomi Räsänen, cofounder and chief sales and marketing officer of Flashnode.
Flashnode integrates common business applications, such as e-commerce, accounting, logistics, payments and customer relationship management. Just like all the parts of an F1 car need to work together in harmony to win a Grand Prix, business systems need to work together in order for the company to succeed.
A range of integration solutions
A number of years ago the cofounders realised that they regularly faced the same challenges when working on integration projects, with the same schedules, complexity and development from scratch. There was a clear business case to make integrations easier and more affordable.
“The MVP (minimum viable product) of our integration platform worked really well and even we were surprised by how much faster and more efficient it was to build the integrations,” Räsänen continues. “The decision was quite easy: full steam ahead!”
After developing the first generation of the platform and working with customers, they began to expand their offering and continued improving their solutions. Today they have everything from simple integration systems for popular applications to bespoke solutions.
“The current generation of the platform allows us to customise the integrations and has opened the market for bigger customers with customised systems as well,” says Räsänen. “Now we can serve customers from small micro-companies to middle-sized enterprises.”
The simple reason for Flashnode’s solutions is to improve efficiency: by automating integration, their clients free up wasted time. Räsänen says that some clients can save over 15 000 euros annually.
“We really help our customers to get their processes right,” Räsänen explains. “Especially when it comes to accounting integrations, the themes are very complex and best practices are not clear for the customers. We know the systems of our partners well and how they are used – what actually happens when data is pushed in. Customers don’t need any technical skills and we even help them to figure out how the automation should work in order to get the maximum out of it.”
Currently most of the company’s customers are from the UK and Finland, but it is already eyeing a global expansion. Flashnode is not just looking for new clients, but also for new partners.
“We’re looking for other companies to join forces with,” says cofounder and CEO Lennu Keinänen. “It’s always good to work together with other companies with the same goals. These companies could be software companies joining our ecosystem of compatible software or companies just expanding to new markets.”
Flashnode is growing rapidly, with now over 30 supported applications and 12 employees in three offices across Europe.
“The next step for our company is to conquer new markets,” Keinänen says. “The biggest single market is the US, definitely one of our target regions quite soon. Starting new markets requires a lot of effort, but that’s still our plan.”