The Need for Transparency in Business Process Integration
The modern enterprise has a greater thirst for how its critical data flows fit into the broader context of the business, and thus, organizations demand more of their integration technology. But existing approaches to integration are lacking in their capabilities to meet these modern demands and fully enable business process integration.
That’s because integration requires more than just point solutions that can deliver B2B and EDI capabilities. Modern integration comprises a broader network of applications, SaaS solutions, and cloud services as part of the IT infrastructure, and requires greater connectivity needs for a fully transparent solution.
While many integration platforms fail to provide adequate visibility into the important information flowing through the system, they also fail to provide adequate transparency into the integration process. In this sense, transparency describes a window into the current state of a business process, whereas visibility describes how we take information we’ve made transparent available to key stakeholders.
Visibility gives us an idea of what’s moving and transparency into how and why it’s happening, where we can see a full view of the data flows, errors and remediation measures, and system health. An ecosystem-driven cloud integration technology supports all manner of B2B, cloud, application, and big data integration, while providing not only visibility into such data flows but full transparency into how they happen.
Why Transparency Matters
Consider a soda vending machine, where for a few quarters (or even a credit card today) you can push a button and the machine will deliver the canned beverage of your choice. But if there’s no light or message indicating that a product isn’t available, you end up pressing the same beverage button over and over with little clue as to why it won’t dispense the beverage.
In integration technology, when you inquire about an order or some other business process and nothing is happening – and nothing clearly tells you whether there’s anything wrong – it’s extremely difficult to know how to respond. The lack of transparency, specifically with issue identification and the resolution process, hinders workflows and frustrates users.
Modern integration technology provides enhanced transparency, enabling users to go deep into a document, understand its content, view and assess an error, and communicate with the support team within the context of the message. By leveraging integration technology to understand just how and why things are happening, users become part of the integration process and gain heightened control over the interaction.
With a fully transparent view of the ecosystem, organizations obtain more granular insights into business process integration and thus, the revenue-generating data exchanges critical to its business.
Business Context and Insights
The byproduct of elevated transparency is a better understanding of how critical data flows and transactions occur and how they impact your business. Increased transparency across the enterprise enables business leaders to make informed decisions with the most up-to-date, accurate information –where files are going, to whom, when, and if they aren’t why they aren’t.
For instance, many integration approaches can track when an order comes in, when the acknowledgment goes back, whether a change order slip is processed, and when shipping notices and invoices go out. When one of those transactions fails, however, can you easily ascertain its impact downstream?
Because a business process consists of multiple connected transactions, true transparency consists of in-context understanding of each transaction, including data you send and receive. What most integration tools fail to do, then, is provide adequate business context of those documents and any errors surrounding them because they don’t comprehensively integrate the right systems, applications, and services in the ecosystem.
Transparency, then, goes beyond the fact that files are moving. It dives deeper into how these files are moving and how each relates to a larger business process. A modern ecosystem integration platform, which flexibly integrates every system, application, and data exchange workflow in your enterprise, provides such transparency into business process integration.
It’s this expanded understanding of your internal and external business interactions that helps you leverage operational insights and better guide organizational strategy.
Benefits of Transparent Ecosystem Integration
One area businesses are demanding more transparency in is when they seek support help for an integration error. Just like a business wants to know the status of its data flows, it also wants to know about the status of a support ticket, especially in a managed services or as-a-service integration model where most of the system already is out of their control.
So, ask yourself this: Do you have a clear understanding of what your integration vendor is doing to resolve an issue? The likely answer is no, and perhaps that’s OK. But the world’s leading organizations cannot be kept in the dark on issues related to a high-stakes trading partner relationship, and they require greater transparency into when an issue will be resolved.
A modern ecosystem integration platform delivers such transparency, enabling businesses to:
- Act directly on the order in the integration dashboard
- Skip executing any processes in an external system and eliminate data re-entry
- See in real time every support interaction and every comment associated with a ticket
- Receive information firsthand and in context
- Share information directly from the file and keep relevant people in the know
Full transparency into every business process integration arms organizations with more valuable, usable intel on its important B2B interactions.
Cleo Integration Cloud combines service and technology to provide the most flexible and frictionless way to exchange B2B data. A cutting-edge, ecosystem-driven cloud integration platform focused on creating value at the edges of business networks, Cleo Integration Cloud shields organizations from the complexities of multi-enterprise and application integration, and further enables real-time visibility, transparency, and governance across important partner and customer relationships. See a demo today.
In the next part of our blog series on the shortfalls of typical B2B integration technology, learn why most solutions lack the control and collaboration tools required to manage your important B2B transactions.