Why Enterprise Integration is Essential in the Digital Era
In the modern enterprise, it is critical that all your systems and technologies across your business ecosystem work together as a functioning, well-oiled machine. This includes the processes built around those applications and systems and the people managing those processes. As digital transformation changes the way companies do business, how can organizations advance their enterprise integration management strategies?
Business Advantages of Enterprise Integration
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.
With an enterprise integration platform, companies can ensure that they are always up-to-date on the state of its 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 function 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.
Typical Challenges of Enterprise Integration
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 does 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 consists of, and the range of complexity from traditional platforms can create headaches across the board.
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.
How to Build a Successful Integration Plan
For an enterprise to have a successful enterprise integration strategy, there are a number of steps to take prior to 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 make a determination 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?
Simplify Enterprise Integration with Cleo Integration Cloud
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 flows 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.
Check out the 2019 State of Ecosystem and Application Integration Report and better understand the importance of enterprise integration in today's business landscape. (Hint: Poor integration is costing businesses a lot of money.)