What Questions Should I Ask When Comparing Integration Platforms?


Selecting the Right Integration Solution: 4 Questions to Know

Implementing a new integration platform is a big deal. Choosing the optimal platform will empower your team with greater visibility, flexibility, and faster onboarding, while simultaneously creating a better customer experience for your trading partners. But with so many vendors claiming their platform is the all-in-one solution that will solve all your integration needs, how do you know which option will align with your company’s needs?

When comparing integration platforms, asking providers pertinent questions can help you better evaluate a system’s true capabilities. Their responses will illuminate platform shortcomings, highlight unique features, and reveal key capabilities and benefits. 

In this blog, we cover four questions that you need to be asking when comparing integration platform options.

1) Does the platform support my data transformation and mapping requirements?

Each company has unique data transformation and mapping requirements. Furthermore, data transformation and mapping requirements routinely change due to evolving trading partners' needs/demands and when onboarding new customers. Therefore, your company should look for an integration platform that is powered by a true any-to-any transformation engine. 

For example, you want to make sure the platform can translate EDI, Flat File, XML, JSON, and CSV as they are some of the most commonly used data transformations. Additionally, find out if the platform can send and receive data from external customers using protocols like FTP, sFTP, AS2, HTTPs, and API. The more data transformations, protocols, and mapping requirements the platform can handle, the more partners your company can conduct business with. 

2) Can the integration platform grow with my needs?

As your business evolves so will your needs. A platform that meets your current demands may not meet your requirements a year from now. That is why it is essential to select an integration platform that can continue to address your needs as your business scales and changes.

When comparing integration platforms, look to see if the technology is flexible and whether the platform can handle the additional growth as your business expands. At a minimum, make sure you can create new maps to accommodate new partners and requirements. Another key capability to inquire about is service offerings. Do they provide self-service, managed services, and/or hybrid service options? Managed services are particularly useful when your team does not have the bandwidth to onboard new clients, which frequently occurs with business expansion and tight labor markets. 

3) How easy is it to use, for all stakeholders?

Integration platforms are utilized by a wide variety of employees and teams—IT, customer success, and operations to name a few. Users will have varying knowledge and comfort levels using systems. That is why user experience should be top-of-mind when assessing and comparing integration platforms. You want a platform that is easy to use, allowing people of all backgrounds and capabilities to understand and navigate the system. 

For instance, is the platform designed to make tasks such as error resolution simpler for the user? Is it intuitive and easy to navigate, without too many unnecessary clicks or distractions? 

Lastly, a modern integration platform should provide dashboards and reports that are unique to a user’s role and function in the organization. The information that is pivotal to a customer success manager may not be useful to an IT technician. Customizable dashboards and reports are an extremely helpful tool that reduces the length of time users waste searching for key information. 

4) Does the platform provide visibility into underlying business processes?

The importance of visibility into business processes cannot be stressed enough. Access to real-time integration visibility and data can offer numerous benefits, including:  

1. Eliminating missed or dropped B2B transactions and associated charges
2. Faster decision-making using intuitive, real-time operational insights and trends
3. Improving customer experience with enhanced transparency

Visibility provides companies with up-to-minute updates, data, and alerts. Therefore, companies can make smarter, more strategic decisions. They also better understand their business since they will have a more in-depth look into their processes. 

Your Cleo Integration Cloud Solution

When researching and assessing integration platforms, we highly suggest that Cleo Integration Cloud (CIC) is a contender. CIC is a cloud-based integration platform, purpose-built to design, build, operate, and optimize critical ecosystem integration processes.

Users can expect CIC to provide end-to-end integration visibility across API, EDI, and non-EDI integrations. The visibility will give technical and business users the confidence to rapidly onboard trading partners, enable integration between applications, and accelerate revenue-generating business processes.
With CIC, businesses can choose between self-service, managed services, or a blended approach. This ensures complete flexibility and control over EDI B2B integration strategy. Businesses can also switch service options depending on their evolving needs.
When it comes to EDI visibility, Cleo Integration Cloud does not just support technical integration, it gives users visibility into underlying business processes. Users get actionable insights into the business value of each EDI document, presented in the context of its impact on the broader business. 

CIC empowers businesses through increased insights, data, control, and visibility, resulting in greater efficiencies, revenue, and customer satisfaction. To learn more about Cleo Integration Cloud and how it can help your business, check out our brief overview video. 

CIC empowers businesses through increased insights, data, control, and visibility, resulting in greater efficiencies, revenue, and customer satisfaction. To learn more about Cleo Integration Cloud and how it can help your business, check out our brief overview video. 

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