Eliminate the ‘Black Box’ and Embrace the ‘Glass Box’ Integration Method

Avoiding black box integration with glass box integration

Today’s cloud-first business environment is not only hyper-competitive but also constantly evolving. With the intense speed at which business now occurs, companies need software that can handle any and all challenges that may arise.

As IT investments are increasingly going towards adopting true eCommerce models, companies are updating legacy ERP systems and integration solutions that connect applications with traditional B2B workflows. Simultaneously, companies are facing vast EDI modernization challenges. The challenges stem from companies opting for fully managed integration services that approach integration as a ‘black box’, meaning there is minimal transparency into the software and services that are necessary for a modern business. 

The ‘Black Box’ Integration Approach

In particular, ‘black box’ integration falls short in the following areas:

  • Lack of Visibility and Control: Complete outsourcing of integration services offers companies little-to-no visibility into operational tasks and activities, as well as poor visibility into business insights like trading partner trends and SLA performance metrics. This is because companies relinquish complete control to a third party.
  • Breach of Trust: Once a company is locked in with a ‘black box’ vendor, the lack of transparency the business has into integration operations, updates, and performance can diminish the long-held trust it has built with customers and trading partners— jeopardizing valuable business relationships. In a “hostage-like” situation with the black-box provider, finger-pointing can become a routine exercise that no one wants to be part of.
  • Limited Connectivity: Lacking a single complete unified platform, most managed service providers cannot natively handle the growing demand for APIs and application connectors required to integrate customers with an ERP, TMS, CRM, WMS, or other back-office applications. Utilizing multiple platforms to handle these demands makes it more difficult for companies to promptly access data and information.

Current Solutions on the Market

Companies may be using a ‘black box’ integration approach and not even know it. They may not be aware of the level of visibility they could have and are therefore complacent with their current situation. 

Common examples of ‘black box’ managed services and solutions on the market include SPS Commerce and TrueCommerce.

These types of vendors and solution providers may promise a high level of transparency, but once deployed, their customers end up experiencing minimal integration control, poor visibility into error resolution and transactions, and slow response times. Consequently, leading to decreases in efficiency, damaged business relationships with trading partners, missed SLAs, costly fines, and more.



So, if ‘black box’ isn’t the answer, what is?

The ‘Glass Box’ Integration Approach—Cleo and CIC with RADAR™

The ‘glass box’ approach replaces ‘black box’ integration with reliable communication and innovative tools—fostering collaboration and empowering users through hands-on control. A ‘glass box’ integration approach avoids the traditional downfalls of the 'black box’ method through: 

1)    Dependable and transparent managed services 

2)    An intuitive, data-rich integration platform 

This two-step pairing allows companies to acquire the information they need to eliminate technical complexity, perform seamless integrations, and update their trading partners. Companies can achieve this ‘glass box’ integration by combining Cleo’s managed services team and Cleo Integration Cloud (CIC) with RADAR™.



Cleo’s Managed Services

Cleo’s managed services team is one of the top integration and EDI providers on the market. We are different than other third-party service providers, as we have the skills, tools, and drive to provide businesses with quick and easy-to-understand support. With Cleo, customers receive: 

  • 900+ of B2B integration experience and expertise
  • 80% faster error resolution time
  • A team of experts with an 86 customer support NPS score
  • Guaranteed one-hour reply time for all SEV 1,2, and 3 issues 24/7
  • Rapid trading partner onboarding with no testing fees (unlike many providers out there)
  • Flexibility to utilize our blended approach that combines our fully self-service approach with our managed services



Cleo Integration Cloud with RADAR™

Cleo Integration Cloud (CIC) is our flagship integration platform that is designed for manufacturing, logistics and transportation, and wholesale organizations, among others. With CIC, businesses can connect their entire digital ecosystem with any-to-any integrations, perform data movement and transfers, deploy business process automation, and so much more.

And if CIC is the glue that holds a digital ecosystem together, RADAR™ is the magnifying glass. As an add-on to CIC, RADAR™ gives businesses and their teams the same level of visibility that Cleo’s managed services team has, so they are always in the know. With RADAR™, customers garner:

  • Visibility into orders, transactions, and updates that can be shared with customers and trading partners
  • Immediate notifications for at-risk and missed obligations, and SLAs, to avoid fees and maintain positive vendor scorecards
  • Real-time data from all integrated applications that is shown in one, centralized location
  • Customizable dashboards for each user that only highlight relevant metrics
  • User-friendly design that team members of any level can navigate and understand



By combining Cleo’s managed services and Cleo Integration Cloud with RADAR™, companies have the visibility and agility required to optimize performance, make informed business decisions, and be proactive—rather than reactive. As a complete solution with flexible deployment options, customers gain the automation capabilities and intuitive controls they need to easily create integration flows between their business and their ecosystem of customers, suppliers, trading partners, and applications. The result is faster onboarding of partners and applications, eliminating blind spots for integration transactions, and optimizing revenue-generating business processes by improving end-to-end visibility.



If you have questions about what was covered in this blog or Cleo's products and services, contact us at sales@cleo.com, +1.815.282.7695. Additionally, explore some of our educational resources through our content hub.



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