Blog: Why Enterprise Integration is Essential in the Digital Era
In the modern enterprise, all your systems and technologies across your business ecosystem must work together as a functioning, well-oiled machine. This includes the processes built around those applications and systems and the people managing those processes. Digital transformation changes the way companies do business, for example, more and more companies are looking to create ERP integration.
The question becomes... how can organizations advance their enterprise system integration management strategies?
Here is what you need to know about enterprise integration:
- What is Enterprise Integration?
- Business Advantages of Enterprise Integration Software
- Typical Challenges of Enterprise Integration
- Why Modern Business Requires Enterprise Integration Services
- Features to Look for in Enterprise Integration Software
- How to Build a Successful Enterprise Integration Plan
- Simplify Enterprise Integration with Cleo Integration Cloud
Enterprise integration is the process of integrating the processes, technologies, networks, and structures that connect data using IT-enabled systems, allowing all applications to functionally work together. Typically made up of a suite of solutions, the goal of enterprise integration is to join incompatible systems using software, hardware, or both. Because enterprises often have many systems and applications running simultaneously, it's easy for the mix to grow so complex that it becomes painful to simply manage important processes efficiently, and ends up slowing the needle.
What is an Enterprise Integration Platform?
An enterprise integration platform (EIP) is a software system that enables different applications, systems, and data sources to communicate and exchange information with each other in a seamless and integrated manner. EIPs serve as a crucial infrastructure component for organizations; providing a central hub for managing the flow of data between disparate systems, allowing organizations to streamline their business processes, improve efficiency, and reduce errors.
The key to selecting an enterprise integration platform requires centers on the company's ability to recognize what it is it actually needs from the integration solution. Companies must be aware of how they want to integrate systems, applications, and data, and what kinds of partner, compliance, and customer SLA mandates they must meet. A modern enterprise integration platform provides the tools and capabilities to enable the speed and agility of today's businesses require, which include:
The allure of an enterprise integration platform is that it connects the operating systems and applications that power the business. Connect employees, customers, and partners, processes and applications, systems, and other technologies within your enterprise. Learn What is an Enterprise Service Bus?
With an enterprise integration platform, companies can ensure that they are always up-to-date on the state of their B2B transactions. Enterprises gain more visibility than they've ever had before.
Critical B2B communications become streamlined through an enterprise integration solution, and advanced technologies aggregate the data so employees across job functions can access and interpret the information they need at any given time.
From an application standpoint, all of an enterprises' in-house applications, from CRMs to ERPs, are integrated and automated, which eliminates the need for manual data re-entry and errors, enhances transparency, and is much simpler to manage.
While the promise of enterprise integration software offers several benefits to improve productivity, increase connectivity, and more, there are some challenges that companies must be aware of first. An enterprise can take advantage of these integration platforms only when they are cognizant of the risks and potential pitfalls that undergoing a migration presents.
While connecting all your systems, applications, and business processes do sound appealing, it is quite complex. The IT and business side need to be aligned with what the end goals of an enterprise integration plan consist of, and the range of complexity from traditional platforms can create headaches across the board. Learn how to master enterprise application integration.
Control (Or Lack Thereof)
Integration developers actually have a limited range of control over the many different business applications. Legacy applications and packed applications cannot be easily changed connect with an integration solution.
The challenge with integration is that most messaging systems and applications use different data formats. Within an enterprise integration platform, for example, existing XML Web Services are only responsible for a small portion of integration challenges. Standardizing all data exchange to XML though isn't feasible, so ensuring that all pieces of your integration environment are supported is a difficult task and requires advanced data transformation capabilities.
Enterprise Integration Issues Are an Obstacle to Business Growth
Your bottom line will be immediately impacted by the lack of centralized integrations due to greater IT maintenance expenses, increased operational risk, and high compliance costs.
Lack of Efficiency
Centrally servicing and monitoring systems is impossible without an enterprise integration platform. Data integrity degrades, IT assets aren't reused well, and scaling can be challenging.
Bad Customer Experience
The likelihood of IT mishaps and system overloads are increased by siloed systems, which negatively affects the overall user experience. Personalization is also challenging without consistent data.
It is challenging to integrate new technologies and partnerships due to improper integrations. It takes time and effort to launch new digital projects.
Business transformation is ramping up, fast. Enterprises must embrace digital trends and choose the right enterprise integration platform to improve business outcomes.
Modernizing a digital ecosystem enables companies to gain a level of data control that they previously have been unable to attain, but several trends stand to impact your digital transformation strategy in 2022. Here they are, and more importantly, here is how an enterprise integration platform can help.
1. Legacy Technologies Hinder Growth
Companies that continue to use legacy and outdated technologies are hindering growth because they simply cannot deliver the agility and speed that today's pace of business requires. Sure, your legacy environment works and might have been reliable for many years.
The problem, however, is that you are limiting your business growth when you can't easily embrace new technologies, such as cloud storage and data services, SaaS applications, and other business-critical solutions. Enterprise integration services are essential to your modernization efforts, and any company that embraces an enterprise integration platform will significantly improve its data exchange capabilities, improve its customer and partner relationships, and reduce costly errors through automated workflows.
2. Efficient and Quick Onboarding is More Important Than Ever
Onboarding a new trading partner, customer, or supplier must be done as quickly as possible. But it's on the enterprises to ensure that they meet all the proper requirements to successfully onboard a new member of their digital ecosystem. This includes supporting multiple protocols, including AS2, SFTP, and HTTPS, and numerous data formats, including EDI, XML, and flat files.
A modern enterprise integration service comes stocked with preconfigured B2B connections to support today's business data needs so you can get your trading partner up and running in hours or days instead of weeks or months. Faster partner integration also drastically increases visibility across the ecosystem, because complete transparency during the onboarding process starts your business relationship off on the right foot.
3. An âOutside-In' Approach to Your Environment
Another reason that companies are prioritizing choosing the right enterprise integration service is that the ways that IT environments have been structured are no longer efficient or conducive to doing business in 2022. The remedy for that is that an approach to create and support end-to-end business flows from the "outside-in."
When we throw the term "outside-in" around, we are referring to businesses that are establishing an ecosystem integration model, where they prioritize their important external customer and trading partner relationships and integrate those data flows into their internal systems. This model streamlines B2B, application, and data integrations to improve customer service, offer true differentiation, and drive business value.
4. Poor Enterprise Integration Services Costs Big Bucks
Just because you have some form of integrations in place does not automatically mean that those integrations are working efficiently for you. In fact, improper integrations can actually cost up to $500,000 in lost revenue every year, according to the 2021 State of Ecosystem and Application Integration Report. The sad reality for many enterprises is that their custom-built, one-off integrations are inefficient and unreliable and directly lead to a loss of hundreds of orders a year. Those poor integrations also can cause you to miss important customer SLAs, which cost you financially and in the form of your business credibility.
The goal is to rationalize your important B2B and application integrations onto a single platform to ensure reliability and simplify maintenance, and the solution lies in embracing an enterprise integration platform to consolidate and streamline the data interactions among your entire ecosystem.
An essential component of enterprise integration is data integration. You require a platform that allows for safe storage, quick retrieval, and simple transmission of data between apps. Additionally, the platform of your choosing should support several data formats.
Monitoring and management
True enterprise integration solutions should provide monitoring and management capabilities, including the ability to track performance metrics and manage system configurations.
Ease-of-Use is Essential
Therefore, it makes no sense to choose a platform that would require you to spend some time learning how to utilize it. The best software for your company's needs should be quite simple to use. Since more time will be spent completing crucial activities rather than learning how to use the platform, productivity will increase as a result.
For large enterprises, it is important to have flexible access that makes the enterprise integration platform intuitive for different roles within the organization. This includes personalizing data views, rules, and actions within the software.
Timely, Fully-Responsive Support
Getting the assistance you require will ensure that you are able to fully utilize the program for business operations.
Automation features are critical. For instance, automating the process of tracking company data that is synced to all other applications to offer reliable internal information for reference and use.
See how Cleo simplifies enterprise integration:
For an enterprise to have a successful enterprise integration strategy, there are several steps to take before action. Besides evaluating your needs and technologies and what you hope to reap from improved enterprise integration, you need to:
- Create a roadmap
- Determine metrics to measure strategy effectiveness
- Minimize redundancies
While these might seem obvious, it's still important to recognize the steps required to establish a true integration strategy. Decide what it is you want to gain from your enterprise integration platform, then decide on how you will measure the effectiveness of the platform. Eliminate any overlapping processes so that your platform runs smoothly, and you will be well on your way to an integration solution that works effectively for your enterprise.
Companies practicing good integration connect their entire ecosystem and gain:
- Agility to keep critical business and financial information up-to-date and make better, faster business decisions
- Visibility into the data flowing throughout your business so you can proactively manage processes and troubleshoot errors
- Efficiency by connecting disparate applications and improving processes across the enterprise
- Time and cost savings by eliminating manual processes and costly legacy systems, so IT resources can focus on strategic activities
- Accelerated growth with the ability to bring on new business and gain revenue faster with out-of-the-box solutions that are easy to deploy
Applications, whether in-house or in the cloud, have never been as inexpensive as they are today; not to mention enterprises have levels of scalability that previous generations of IT departments could only have dreamed of. An enterprise integration platform that ties all these applications and systems together in one easy-to-use solution and aligns with your business needs will better deliver on the promise of integration. And that promise is increased value.
Customers' needs are changing by the minute, with the fast-moving world of technology and cloud computing, an enterprise integration platform can redefine customer reach, engagement, and improve the quality of customer service within your enterprise. Companies need to continue to innovate and evolve to meet customer needs, and that's exactly what the right enterprise integration platform can do.
So that begs the question which enterprise integration platform should you choose? Take the next step by reading the ultimate guide to choosing an enterprise integration platform.
Spend less time integrating your enterprise
and focus on actual revenue growth with Cleo.
Whether you are adding a SaaS solution to help drive business outcomes, moving large amounts of data into a cloud integration platform, or your business is a service organization that thrives on delivering faster responses to customer requests, you rely on integration to make data flow work. Regardless of what kind of business you do, you need a scalable enterprise integration system to support any-to-any hybrid integration, data transformation, fast and secure file transfer, and end-to-end visibility of all the data flowing through your dynamic ecosystem.
The Cleo Integration Cloud platform enables you to accelerate ground-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud integration processes to easily integrate applications, and storage, and business platforms, connecting all your data on-premise and in the cloud. Cleo powers on-premise, cloud, and hybrid integration scenarios to power your operational efficiency and ensure you can rapidly and securely exchange data across internal systems and to business trading partners.