Control. Enterprises crave it.
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, or how many customers you have, enterprises must feel empowered by the amount of control they have to deliver business outcomes. Technology solutions and vendor partnerships play a critical role in creating different levels of control and is directly proportional to the confidence an organization has in its perceived ability to deliver desired results.
Specifically, one of the fundamental pillars of a successful integration strategy revolves around the concept of integration control. For example, having control over the strategy and execution of integration related activities means enterprises are able to feel confident in delivering end-to-end integrations to support business requirements – whether those are coming from customers, trading partners, or internal growth initiatives (think expansion of sales in eCommerce or marketplaces as an example).
For one reason or another, this is something that organizations have struggled with for years, presenting major challenges and creating pent up frustration.
If you’ve been following this series, you already know that there are six pillars that make up a confident integration strategy. The first revolved around the choices enterprises have; in order to take advantage of those many choices, enterprises must also retain control whenever and wherever they need it.
A confident integration strategy requires a certain level of control over these three things:
Daily Execution of Operational Tasks
Companies must maintain a high level of visibility throughout a B2B transaction’s lifecycle. That visibility provides deeper business insights that are required to optimize operational performance and business decisions related to a specific business process, such as an order-to-cash or procure-to-pay flow. When it comes to integration, having control over how tasks are completed, who is responsible for what, and when they are to be completed is highly value for an organization.
For example, if you invest in an integration strategy where your vendor provides the options for both self-integration (do it yourself) and turn-key managed services (outsource to an expert), you can control who is responsible for completing tasks – giving you more flexibility and agility than you have with a singular approach. Notice the use of “and” in the previous sentence and not “or.” For instance, you may choose to focus on executing tasks related to your most strategic (i.e. valuable) trading partners, while outsourcing day-to-day operational tasks like a small mapping update to a services team. Having both options – through a single technology vendor or partner – enables you to have the control you need to achieve your business objectives on-time and under budget.
Access to Critical Integration Information
Sometimes the most valuable part of control is not having it all. Take information for example. When you have a limited group of individuals controlling access to information, it can put an organization at a significant disadvantage. The proper information does not get to the right people or simply gets delayed due to bottlenecks related to permissions, poor user interfaces, or disparate data.
Imagine not having to limit or specify who has access to critical information, helping you improve your organization’s performance.
By providing role-based dashboards and consolidated insights, business and technical users alike can create customized views into the health of your transactions with your ecosystem. Whether one is looking for high-level trading partner scorecards, e-commerce transaction trends, or specific details of a B2B interaction, giving all team members the control for integrated end-to-end visibility can create a competitive advantage through improved decision making.
Integration technology is the glue that holds together an organization’s revenue generating business processes with an ecosystem. But we all know technology is only a piece of the puzzle as you need the right skill sets available at the right time to reap the benefits of a robust integration platform. If an enterprise does not have the right skill sets in-house or enough people on its IT team, even the best integration technology will not get the job done. Organizations need to have control over their resources to match the fluctuations in integration workload.
The challenge is no organization has resources sitting idly by, waiting for the next project. As soon as a resource frees up, they are immediately deployed onto the next thing. Every IT team is strapped for resources and it is difficult to find adequate bandwidth to cover every single need of the business – when it needs it. So, what is a company to do? Say “no” to the business? Pick and choose business initiatives? Prioritize based on business impact? Likely the answer is all of the above depending on the situation.
The better approach is to have more control over your resourcing strategy to execute in-house or through a managed services team. Companies can choose who does the work based on priorities, skills, employee availability, and just how critical it is to a business. No more saying “no” to the business. No more choosing what gets done and what does not. And lastly no more worry if a skilled resource is not available. The blended approach of in-house and managed services means enterprises don’t have to pick, the control is theirs.
Take Back Control of Your Integration Strategy
Enterprises are constantly looking for ways to drive more revenue and the answer lies in a consolidated integration platform. There is no better way to ensure you have as much or as little control as you need to drive the business outcomes that deliver true value and results. Integration is often viewed as something that is difficult to navigate, but the reality is it doesn’t have to be like that at all.
With the right partner by your side, integration is not only simple to use, but also to manage, and most of all – to control.
Up next, Part Three: The Power of Integration Credibility.