When it comes to integration, having control over how tasks are completed, knowing who is responsible for what, and being clear on when tasks are to be completed is highly valuable for an organization.
For example, if your integration strategy is one where your vendor provides the options for both self-service integration (do it yourself) and turn-key managed services (outsource to an expert), you can control who is responsible for completing tasks – giving you more flexibility and agility than you have with a singular approach. (Notice the use of “and” in the previous sentence and not “or.” ) For instance, you may choose to focus on executing tasks related to your most strategic (i.e., most valuable) trading partners, while outsourcing day-to-day operational tasks like a small mapping update to a services team.
Having both self-service and managed services options through a single technology vendor or partner enables you to have the control you need to achieve your business objectives on-time and under budget. An approach whereby you leverage both is sure to deliver greater this unique blend of both organizational agility and control.
Self-service is really about empowering the end user to make changes directly, because allowing for real-time flexibility enables them to maintain greater agility across their business infrastructure as business needs and customer expectations change.
On the other hand, with managed-services you get a provider with EDI services, expertise, and support to ensure your integration delivers the results you need. Managed services eliminates complexities, staffing shortages, and any skillset gaps you might get from a self-service-only approach.
The final option is a combination of self-service AND managed services to provide a strategic blend with the right balance between knowing your specific needs and optimizing control. This is the most modernized approach to integration and gives organizations the best of both worlds: It complements existing organizational skill sets while also helping you accelerate time-to-market.
Each organization needs to size up where it stands today in terms of integration technology maturity, what works, what doesn’t, and how you can best improve. When changes appear on the horizon, such as changes to the enterprise application environment, retiring staff, or other events that can impact your integration needs, it helps to have an integration strategy that best suits the business objectives of your organization.
The benefits gained from utilizing a blend of self-service and managed services are countless, from overall business strategy being easier to follow, to staffing and technology considerations. With a blended approach, you’re able to keep some level of in-house operations for integrations. For instance, maybe you want to handle all of your highest volume transactions yourself, rather than relying on a third-party.
Suffice it to say, no two organizations are exactly the same. There isn’t some magical “one-size fits all” strategy that will work for everyone, regardless of whether that company is in the manufacturing, logistics, or wholesale/distribution industry.
What is clear though, is that having control gives you choice … and having choice gives you control. Whether that means you entirely engage a complete managed service, build out all your integrations in-house, or establish your own unique blended approach to integration, is entirely up to you.