In today’s digital landscape, it’s not enough to think about the importance of business integration only from a technical perspective. The modern enterprise has so many different systems, software applications, and processes to manage that it’s easy to lose sight of what those technologies and processes are supposed to serve – generally superior products and services to customers, and increased business growth.
What is Business Integration?
Business integration is the process of combining various components of a business, such as departments, software systems, and business units, into a unified and cohesive operation. The objective of business integration is to enhance the overall performance of the organization by improving system efficiency and productivity. The integration of business processes can take multiple forms, including the integration of different software systems or the integration of different business units within a larger corporation. By integrating these components, organizations can streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve decision-making.
Business process integration software today is about so much more than connecting computer systems or applications together. True business integration means designing ways for all the participants in your digital ecosystem to interact seamlessly and support the outcomes important to your organization. The sum of the group, we’ve been taught in school, is far greater than individual contributions, and there’s never been a better reason to focus on a business integration strategy that embraces that sentiment and connects, enables, and optimizes your larger ecosystem.
Benefits of Business Integration
Smart companies are realizing the benefits of committing to a business integration strategy. However, the key to achieving these benefits is choosing the right technology and workflows to integrate with the various platforms across business units.
1. A Simplified Environment
The amount of integrations an enterprise needs to manage can easily get out of control in a hurry. This, in turn, leads to an incredibly complex environment that can bog down operations and frustrate IT managers. An ecosystem integration platform simplifies connectivity workflows data flows become less complex. The heavy lifting is taken care of for you, so you have time to focus on the important things, such as driving true business value to your company’s bottom line.
2. Comprehensive Visibility
End-to-end data visibility enables enterprises to view the entire life cycle for any type of data. A centralized integration platform gives you the ability to track, monitor, and manage data across EDI systems, cloud services, and SaaS applications. It also provides real-time visibility for business and technical users, enabling persona-based insight and intelligence into your critical data flows. Throughout your digital ecosystem, you will have all the information you need at your fingertips – and advanced reporting and alert notifications if you don’t.
3. Automated Workflows
We all know how cumbersome the workarounds and custom code within our legacy technologies can be. That’s why centralized integration platforms are able to reduce errors, processing delays, and potential chargebacks through automation and business orchestration capabilities. No longer do employees need to spend their time on tedious and time-consuming tasks, such as data entry, because the built-right-in data movement and data transformation capabilities enable end-to-end workflows.
4. Cost Savings
You know all those costly legacy systems and one-off applications that your teams are currently managing? Say goodbye to those headaches, and hello to a single, easy-to-use platform from which you can manage all your EDI, application, and data integration workflows. Consolidating solutions saves maintenance costs and improves operational efficiency, which enables you to allocate your money and resources toward core business services.
Besides the cost factor, another drawback to an unintegrated IT environment is that it becomes more difficult to manage all the security requirements. Separately managing the risk and security needs of each system and application is extremely cumbersome. An ecosystem integration platform gives organizations the ability to leverage secure protocols and encryption methods and layer in additional security tools in a more manageable way, which makes the job of protecting your data, and your customers’ data, an easier task.
The Fundamental Flaw in Most Business Integration Strategies
While a centralized integrated system sounds like a no-brainer for most businesses, the truth is that there are many enterprises that continue to treat internal and external data flows separately and end up with disparate data silos and multiple systems across the organization. A data silo is a repository of fixed data that usually only one group within an organization can access, and it is isolated from the rest of the company and its workflows.
Data silos go against all the promise that we just talked about from a business integration strategy. Enterprises that promote collaboration through strategy and technology are better positioned to achieve fundamental business goals and succeed. That’s precisely what an integrated platform provides.
Besides the trust and collaboration (or lack thereof) factors from data silos, they also lead to duplicate and redundant business processes, reduced efficiency, and lack of visibility, which slows informed decision making because you don’t have a full understanding of your business. Integration connects systems, applications, and everything else within your environment and provides a holistic view of your revenue-generating processes.
The Value of Thinking End-to-End
All the benefits that we outlined above are not a pipe dream. These are all within the grasp of businesses large and small through a focused digital transformation strategy built on top of a centralized, ecosystem integration platform. The goal is improved business outcomes, and that’s achieved through a streamlined IT environment that easily integrates your critical SaaS applications, EDI and B2B systems, and their corresponding business processes.
Technology is a means to an end, and in this case, that end is making it easier for your ecosystem of customers, vendors, suppliers, and trading partners to do business with you. A platform that is flexible and allows you to manage your integrations across everyone you digitally interact with helps execute on your business integration strategy. Achieve the benefits of business integration using Cleo Integration Cloud and simplify complex IT environments, support end-to-end integration, and empower business and technical users.