The Six Pillars for a Confident Integration Strategy
Integration is foundational for driving transactions, interactions, and relationships with an organization's ecosystem. Whether one is looking to drive B2B processes (think order-to-cash or procure-to-pay), move data between applications (think transactions), onboard trading partners faster (think relationships), or grow revenue through e-commerce and marketplace channels (think expansion), integration makes it all possible.
This is precisely why organizations must have confidence in their integration strategy, technology, and vendor partners.
Do you have integration confidence? While we’re at it, what exactly is integration confidence?
Gain Confidence for Your Integration Approach
Integration confidence is knowing you can deliver outcomes that matter to your business. No, you aren’t going to find it as a single measurable metric or a featured item on a data sheet. It’s the resulting assurance you get from having the right software (and partner) in place to run your critical integration flows. Integration confidence comes when organizations combine implementation of the right technology platform, have access to the right mix of resources and skills, and select integration technology to achieve immediate and long-term business goals.
Confidence comes when you can support any B2B integration requirement from your business stakeholders or trading partners – commonly referred to as “the ability to say ‘yes’.” Confidence is when your organization can respond to unforeseen market changes – such as changes in trading partners, or even environmental disasters impacting your supply chain. Confidence is knowing you have a modern integration platform that supports your evolving use cases for file, EDI and API-based integrations with your internal and external ecosystems. Confidence is when you know you have control over meeting stringent SLAs from your partners and customers
Integration confidence is built much like the Taj Mahal, Vatican City, or the Roman Empire. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is required for every organization who wants to compete in the modern world where Amazon, Uber, and the like dominate headlines. Just like anything that is built to last, integration confidence is a built by leveraging multiple pillars:
Pillar #1: The Flexibility of Choice
Choices are powerful. A flexible strategy should have the option to design and deploy B2B integrations yourself, outsource to an expert managed services team, or create a blended approach leveraging both. Empowering your organization to choose how to execute integration work based on resources, skillset, and business strategy directly impacts time-to-market and total cost of ownership (TCO).
Pillar #2: The Ability to Control
Having control over integrations has been something organizations have struggled with for years – it really is a major challenge and creates pent up frustration. Integration confidence requires a certain level of control over:
- Daily execution of operational tasks (the who, what, and how)
- User access to critical integration information (who has access and to what)
- Resourcing strategies (to grow or shrink your teams)
You want to ensure you have as much or as little control as you need to drive the business outcomes your organization requires.
Pillar #3: The Power of Credibility
Credibility and trust are the basis of any relationship. Whether you are looking to build that relationship with a trading partner or foster internal relationships with key stakeholders, you need credibility.
You need to have credibility with your organization to trust you in expanding market opportunities, increasing customer retention, and accelerating time to value of your integration operations. Gaining this credibility isn’t easy, but it requires a credible vendor by your side with a mix of services and technology that can support any strategy you need.
Pillar #4: The Impact of Real-Time Insights
The world has moved past data and information. Today, you require real-time operational insights to power decision-making regardless of role or persona. Gone are the days where you need to aggregate integration transactions from multiple systems just to compile a snapshot of your business that ends up being composed of outdated information. To drive confidence in decision-making, organizations must consolidate their integrations into a single platform to enable real-time insights of their integration flows – regardless of the underlying integration technology, ecosystem endpoint type or sales channel.
Pillar #5: The Efficiency of a Complete Technology Platform
When teams are efficient, they deliver more business value, boost their expertise, and mitigate business risk – all business outcomes that drive increased levels of confidence. By centralizing the design, build, analyze, and optimize workflows of all B2B integration transactions onto a single integration platform, organizations will see a rise in efficiency. Reporting becomes easier, issue resolution is faster, and assessing the health of your business or ecosystem partners becomes more intuitive. Organizations who want integration confidence will seek to eliminate disparate integration systems and silos.
Pillar #6: The Visibility of End-to-End Integration Workflows
Having real-time insights and a consolidated integration technology platform are not enough to drive the confidence you need. Organizations must gain insights in end-to-end integration workflows, not partial workflows that begin or end at the edge of your enterprise. End-to-end visibility is typically lost when a transaction, for instance, an order from a trading partner, spans across multiple cloud and on-premise systems. Information is available piecemeal, at best, and a user is left to piece the information together to decipher the full path of the transaction. This results in blind spots and poor visibility that cause missed SLAs or higher issue resolution times.
Organizations can drive new levels of confidence when they invest in modern integration platforms that eliminate integration blind spots by connecting modern cloud environments with legacy on-premise systems – creating true end-to-end visibility across any business process – regardless of where systems are hosted.
So, What Comes Next?
All of those pillars sound pretty great, right? You don’t have to pick and choose between them, however. You can actually have every single one of those pillars helping you build more confidence in your integration strategy than you’d ever dreamed possible.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take you on a journey to teach you how to begin creating a foundation with these six pillars and start to create more integration confidence. As we head into 2020, you cannot continue to rely on legacy technologies and strategies and still expect to be competitive. You need an integration platform, partner, and services team that is on top of its game, so you can execute 2020 with a strong sense of integration confidence.
Stay tuned, as part two of this educational series explains all about the flexibility of choice.