Ultimate Guide to Choosing a B2B Cloud Data Integration Platform

Integration software has seemingly been around forever, at least since the earliest days of the digital revolution that started in the second half of the 20th century. B2B integration software solutions are among the more complex aspects of IT work as they help connect thousands of applications and business processes within a digital ecosystem, and efficiently move data between systems. Without cloud data integration technology, today’s digital business world would come to a screeching halt.


Although integration technology has been around for several generations, it is now rapidly evolving and maturing as business needs change and technology advances. Currently, industry trends are favoring innovation, such as the development of cloud data integration platforms, and recent studies underscore why this is a very good thing.

What is a cloud data integration platform? A cloud integration platform connects and shares data to enable file-based, EDI, and application integration. This allows for optimization of end-to-end integration processes within a dynamic network of trading partners, applications, suppliers, customers, and marketplaces.

Links to related guides:

Choosing an EDI provider

Logistics Integration Software

Manufacturing Integration Software

Wholesale Integration Software

Current Trends in Integration Technology


A survey of 300 integration experts conducted in Q4 of 2022 revealed that 99% of companies experienced revenue loss in 2022 due to integration issues. As for how much they lost, 50% of respondents said their companies lost at least $250k in 2022 due to integration issues, up from 31% in 2020. Meanwhile, 26% of businesses lost more than $500K in 2022, up from 18% in 2020. These findings highlight how companies inability to combat supply chain disruptions and their lack of agility is gravely impacting revenue and profitability at an increasing rate.


What is causing these mounting losses?

According to the Cleo-sponsored survey, it is largely coming from legacy integration solutions (29%), using too many integration solutions (27%), and reliance on manual processes (26%). Beyond the financial losses, the amount of time it takes to onboard new business partners is also a point of contention.


In 2022, 44% of integration experts surveyed said it took on average between one week and one month to onboard a new supply chain trading partner, and 16% say it took more than one month. These long onboarding times directly impact a business’s revenue, vendor scorecards, and customer satisfaction. The causes for these delays can largely be attributed to meeting security requirements (43%), legacy or homegrown solutions (38%), and too many manual processes (30%). For many companies in laggard industries, such as manufacturing, logistics and transportation, and wholesale distribution, these negative trends can be crippling. The good news is, an increasing number of respondents understand that modern cloud-based solutions for B2B integration can help remedy the situation.


When asked when their companies are looking to migrate integration capabilities to the cloud, 16% said they already started migrating, and 75% plan to migrate within the next 12 months. Furthermore, in another survey extensively researched in Q4 of 2022, we asked leaders how their companies are preparing for the predicted economic turndown. The top answer was investing in new supply chain technology with 46%. Supply chain technology includes automation, EDI, supply chain management, eCommerce, etc.—all of which allow companies to improve efficiency, work with more trading partners, and gain greater control of their supply chain operations. Moreso, companies that invested in integration technology to improve supply chain and organizational agility reaped significant financial gains in 2022. Seventy-six percent (76%) of survey respondents said that their company’s supply chain investments improved their organization’s business agility in 2022. Additionally, business leaders from nearly one in five companies (18%), stated that increased agility resulting from such investment drove $3M or more in additional revenue in 2022.


For 49% of companies, improved agility led to an increase in revenue of at least $1M or more, and 70% of businesses increased revenue by at least $500K. This proves that supply chain and integration technology should be a top strategic priority among business executives as it has a direct and positive impact on revenue.


Integration technology, while often overlooked, is a two-sided coin. It can either cause a company to lose money, as is the case with poor integration solutions, or be strategically leveraged as a route to help companies make money, when business process agility is top of mind.


In fact, for executives in the know, integration tech is their top tech investment choice. One in three executives (34% of those surveyed) invested in integration technology to combat disruptions threatening their businesses. Other responses to supply chain disruptions include investing in back-office technology (ERP, CRM, WMS, TMS) with 47%, and finding new trading partners (suppliers, customers, shippers) with 43%.


"Data is already incredibly valuable to enterprises seeking to optimize operations internally, and data very well could be just as valuable to external organizations. The exchange of data is already monetized by media companies and websites like Facebook. Why can’t businesses in other industries do the same? Improved integrations that connect on-premise legacy systems to cloud-based applications can provide manufacturers, retailers, logistics companies and wholesalers the marketable data they need to maintain revenue in times of uncertainty. By connecting legacy systems to the cloud, supply chain organizations can quickly leverage cloud technology to gather external information and existing internal data. This could be the business-saving capability."
John Thielens, CTO of Cleo as quoted in Inside Big Data


Investing in supply chain technology and reaping additional agility led 95% of businesses to garner an increase in revenue—reporting they saw improvements in customer satisfaction, company growth, profits, and business resilience.


Looking ahead, supply chain disruptions will continue into 2023 and beyond, hence why 85% of companies plan to invest $100K or more in supply chain technology in 2023, up from 77% in 2022.


All told, it appears that many companies’ integration strategies are either outdated or broken altogether. In either case, you have to ask the question: Why?


To answer this, let’s take a look at how EDI B2B integration has evolved, and where it looks to be going in the years ahead.





Why So Many Companies’ Integration Strategies are Broken

The biggest reason so many integration strategies are broken is that the world is changing... rapidly.

Old school, traditional B2B business has evolved into a multi-faceted ecosystem of partners, suppliers, systems, marketplaces, applications, and more. Yet for many companies, their IT approach to integrating digital ecosystems is outdated and cannot keep pace with ever-changing market demands.

It is quite the predicament. So how did we get here?

traditional B2B Cloud data integration approach

Every company has core revenue-producing business processes such as order-to-cash (O2C) and procure-to-pay (P2P) that govern how business gets done with customers, logistics firms, and financial institutions. These processes stipulate how a company receives orders, purchases supplies, manages goods in its supply chain, issues invoices, and receives payments. In the old days, this was all done manually by a human employee.


In the 1960s, enterprises adopted a standard called electronic data interchange (EDI). This allowed companies to electronically exchange information based on predefined syntaxes and formats. In the 1970s, companies adopted value-added networks (VANs) to exchange EDI documents. The EDI translator market spawned as a response to the growing complexity of custom-coded, homegrown applications that enabled EDI translation.


However, VANs soon began offering their services for a fee. This led internet and applicability standards such as AS2 (applicability statement 2) to further accelerate EDI adoption by drastically reducing the need for VANs. So retailers such as Walmart started mandating that their trading partners use AS2 in an effort to eliminate reliance on VANs, thus lowering costs and leveraging their buying power.

To stay relevant, VANs started offering integration services for then-modern standards and formats — i.e., adapters for common ERP applications and a new thing called “web services.”


Integration Brokerages and eCommerce

VANs soon morphed into integration brokerages as more B2B integration projects, say for supply chain or cloud data integration services, got outsourced.


Simultaneously, EDI translator software was packaged with AS2, rudimentary process management, and basic monitoring capabilities. These packages were sold as “B2B Gateways,” a centralized entry-exit point for all B2B communications. Then can the rise of eCommerce. While eCommerce has existed in some form since the dawn of the internet, in the late 2000s Amazon Marketplace irreversibly shifted the paradigm of B2B interactions to APIs. Customers and partners changed how they ordered goods and services, preferring the more real-time interactivity of APIs.


This fundamentally changed the concept of a purchase order and how it should be processed. B2B gateways and integration brokerages that are optimized for “batch” processing, lacked the architectural and technical requirements for this new, real-time activity.


Integration brokerages are “one size fits all,” and only make sense when a company’s existing library of processes and transformations reach economies of scale. If your business depends on even the smallest amount of customization, integration brokerages may not be the best option. The only valid use case is when there is absolutely no differentiation on how you manage your digital relationship with your partner – which is rare.


There are essentially two fundamental flaws with integration brokerages, which limit agility and growth. First, outsourcing causes loss of control and visibility of core revenue-producing processes. So your company will have less insight into each inquiry, order change, or support request that comes through by phone or email. Second, they provide little help supporting integrations between cloud applications and services that power eCommerce and marketplaces, ERP, TMS, or WMS systems, forcing reversion to manual execution or worse — custom code and scripting.


So with the widespread adoption of eCommerce underway, cloud software like Shopify and Magento / Adobe, which automate the "order capture" portion of an O2C process, started gaining major momentum. The so-called “Amazon experience" has set expectations with buyers around speed, accuracy, and instant responses.


But it is what happens after the order is placed – i.e., the order is captured, inventory is checked, accounts are debited, items are pulled, packed, and shipped, shipping notices are issued, logistics gets involved, etc. — that has caused companies to rearchitect data flows and modernize their integration technologies.. This is because all these new points of interaction now require new points of integration.


Additionally, while digital sales channels generally require a new fulfillment process, inventory systems may stay the same -- requiring integration between modern and legacy systems, and cloud and on-premise solutions.



To meet these challenges, ecosystem integration platforms deliver API-based integration capabilities along with traditional EDI to deliver robust orchestration and governance to business processes. Consumed via the cloud, these "as a service" platforms represent the most viable opportunity to ensure compliance, agility, and revenue expansion.


We would be remiss if we did not address the perception issues revolving around EDI versus API. One prevailing misconception is that EDI and API are an “either-or” proposition, when they are actually complementary. Companies need both integration capabilities, preferably on the same platform.


An EDI-based process is a bilateral relationship where suppliers work with an implementation guide to connect to a retailer. It is optimal for maintaining and scaling existing relationships that are large or seasonal, such as grocery stores, food and beverage, consumer durables, and automotive parts, which involve predictable, large-scale demand.


API-based processes are more unilateral, meaning both parties have more agility. For example, a supplier can get into the Amazon platform by leveraging APIs while following clear specification guidelines from Amazon. The rules of engagement are clear, providing more agility to both parties. As consumers today demand increasingly personalized experiences, the value of APIs becomes apparent.


Well, what exactly do EDI and API do? They essentially connect business processes. This gets us to the crux of the reason why so many EDI B2B integration strategies are broken.


Historically, supply chain planning processes have continually evolved. Supply chain integration processes, however – which are vital for integrating information and data across extended business ecosystems – have not kept up. Improving supply chain integration processes is essential for modern digital transformation. While in the past you could get away with layering one solution on top of another, or adding tool after tool, what results is a “spaghetti bowl” of disconnected business processes that yield weak visibility, low agility, more compliance violations, lost revenue, and poor customer experiences. Simply put, poor integration hinders successful supply chain operations whereas superior supply chain integration can enhance business performance.


Today’s digital ecosystems need to be connected – suppliers, customers, logistics providers, as well as people, applications, and data. Given the opportunity frontier that a connected ecosystem presents, supply chain integration processes are arguably more important than traditional supply chain planning and optimization strategies. From a business process perspective, integration gives companies the flexibility and agility to turn on a dime, quickly respond to shifts in customer demand, and deliver the type of experience customers expect. Plus, richer visibility into your data gives you absolute control over your integration solutions so your company can make faster, better, and more insightful business decisions.


To get such visibility, companies are exploring a variety of “modern” approaches.

Comparing Alternatives

iPaaS (integration platform as a service): primarily used for internal application-to-application integration—not usually capable/used for connecting with external partners


For instance, there’s the iPaaS approach (Integration Platform as a Service).  Here’s a snapshot of what’s appealing to some companies about iPaaS technology:

  • Purpose: Enable integration via “developing” interfaces for all applications
  • Experience: Self-service and self-support
  • Typical User: Developer
  • Complexity: Simple to Try, Complex to Use
  • Connector Profile: Library of General, Basic Connectors
  • Ecosystem Style: Internal Integration Focused
  • Deployment: Non embeddable cloud, no white label options 
  • Integration Scope: Internal application integration with support for standard cloud applications
  • External Entity Management: Minimal onboarding and change management support

Legacy EDI software: outdated EDI technology with limited features and capabilities—lower upfront cost but expenses tend to add up


Then there’s what’s called the EDI Managed Services approach, which might be described or summarized this way:


  • Experience: Blackbox, 100% hands off
  • Typical User: Vendor Partner Manager
  • Complexity: Outsourced
  • Connector Profile: All customized
  • Ecosystem Style: Partner/ EDI B2B integrations
  • Deployment: Limited white label options


And further, there’s the good old, EDI-focused “tool kit” approach which boasts a third different method


  • Experience: Self-managed and self-support
  • Typical User: Developer & Administrator
  • Complexity: Easy but limited
  • Connector Profile: Single ERP
  • Ecosystem Style: One off Integration
  • Deployment: On premise/ private cloud

The fundamental purpose of EDI Tool Kits and Managed Services offerings is to enable partner integration via messages and secure communications.


  • Integration Scope: External partner’s file systems and EDI gateways. 
  • External Entity Management: Outsourced and partner management portals.
  • Typical User: IT Admin, EDI Analyst
  • Connector Strategy: Custom scripts. 
  • Deployment: On premise for tool kit / Outsourced for services

There are business-impacting shortcomings to each of these approaches, however.  For instance, iPaaS models tend to be best suited for application-to-application (A2A) integration. 

Vidya Chadaga, Vice President, Products with Cleo, said of iPaas:

“IPaaS means ‘Integration platform as a service.’ 

And ‘integration platform’ literally means a platform that can connect to various applications. While certain vendors to have integration platforms, they are primarily meant for A2A integration within the four walls of an organization.  When it comes to Cleo, we have extended iPaaS to B2B.” 

As for Integration Brokerages (IBs) or Managed Service Provider (MSPs) offerings, they are beholden to kilo-character changes.  And “legacy” EDI software, not surprisingly, are increasingly subject to punishing EOL problems (End of Life) as more and more of them reach the stage where it is uneconomical for their original providers to support them (e.g., just follow what’s happened to IBM Gentran over the years).


Rethinking It All: Ecosystem Integration as a New Software Category

Ecosystem Integration platforms choreograph B2B processes and integrations with full data orchestration and are rapidly becoming core to managing entire ecosystems and accelerating commerce in the era of the cloud and digital business.


Ecosystem Integration was born through a “best of breeds” approach to create a modern integration platform that provides real-time visibility across fully end-to-end business processes. This new approach to integration not only empowers business and technical users on your team but also future-proofs your organization against new requirements that are yet to be determined. Whether you need to support eCommerce or direct-to-consumer revenue, a new ERP, marketplaces, or unforeseen changes from trading partners – Ecosystem Integration has the capabilities to ensure agility and control.


So how would business leaders know if an ecosystem integration approach is right for them, and what implementation challenges might they encounter?  Let’s take the comparative aspects of integration approaches that we discussed earlier, and look at them in a slightly different way – with cloud data integration in mind – where ecosystem integration is included alongside:

b2b cloud data integration platform comparison chart

From this you can readily see that ecosystem integration constitutes a far more holistic solution.  What is it about ecosystem integration that makes it so vastly different?

What is Ecosystem Integration?

Ecosystem Integration is a modern, business-process-driven approach to connects and integrates the core revenue-generating business processes between a company and its ecosystem entities.

It’s the modern response to two inevitable changes affecting businesses today:

  • The critical need for supply chain agility and responsiveness. 
  • The irreversible shift to eCommerce that is now happening at an accelerated pace.

Ecosystem Integration is the digital fabric that helps companies in a digital ecosystem tie together all the business processes and systems at play, so they can respond swiftly to supply chain disturbances -- be they pandemics, hurricanes, or geopolitical events -- as well as to market opportunities such as increased eCommerce buying and fulfillment.

Because Ecosystem Integration software enables end-to-end multi-enterprise EDI B2B integration (i.e., this is not just about internal application integration or front-end integration solutions for eCommerce), it opens seamless integration pathways for connecting trading partners, applications, systems, and marketplaces, ultimately delivering real-time visibility and far greater control.

What's different about It?

Ecosystem Integration is different from traditional “internal” integration approaches because it brings an “outside-in” approach to integration. Traditional integration was always enterprise-centric, concerned primarily with connecting a company to a standard set of business partners and internal applications through common technologies such as EDI, and usually in a batch (i.e., not real-time) manner.

It’s maybe easiest to understand in terms of replacing the “old way” of implementing B2B integration solutions with a “new way” that’s more in step with the rapidly transforming digital world.  This video should help explain.

Blueprint for Ecosystem Integration

Given the foregoing, you may be wondering where is the best place to start for a business looking to incorporate ecosystem integration. The best answer is to start from wherever you are. Every company evolves in its own way but there are generally five sequential stages of digital transformation businesses go through to add value to their organization's supply chain.


This graphic below depicts the key stages of integration maturity that a company goes through, from level one which is the most basic, to level five which is highly intelligent and automated.

Every stage higher reflects improved business processes through the adoption of real-time integration capabilities and technologies—driving toward a more ecosystem-driven business model.


The most fundamental or first stage of maturity is file-based integration, through common managed file transfer (MFT) solutions. The second stage consists of EDI which adds data transformation. The third stage adds real-time integration with APIs into the mix The third stage also enters the realm of ecosystem enablement because it is about gaining end-to-end integration visibility, principally through APIs into back-end systems.


In the fourth stage, you are able to leverage your newfound end-to-end visibility to gain real-time data that will help inform important business decisions. Automation scales upwards during stages one through four, as companies adopt more cloud capabilities to open their systems to greater end-to-end process visibility and control. Furthermore, stages three and four are critical because a lot of steps a company takes to become more digitized involves APIs.


The fifth and final stage is true ecosystem enablement, where you have achieved dynamic and intelligent integration capabilities. This is where a company’s ability to dynamically sense and intelligently respond to situational change via integration technology becomes a reality.


What to Expect Out of a Modern Platform: Confidence & Swagger

The main thing we believe companies should seek when upgrading their integration strategy is regaining the organizational confidence they have been missing as rapid change, driven by digital transformation, has been running rampant throughout nearly every industry.

Simply put, integration confidence is the comfort organizations feel when they have the right combination of modern software and a quality-managed service provider to support critical integration flows. This type of comfort exists when an organization can support any B2B integration solution requirement from any of the myriad stakeholders and trading partners that comprise its business ecosystem. Does your organization have the supply chain visibility to anticipate and quickly respond to unexpected changes in the marketplace? Does your organization have the control required to meet stringent service-level agreements (SLAs) from partners and customers, especially when external factors impact them? If not, it is probably time to upgrade your integration capabilities to support EDI and API-based integrations with your external and internal ecosystems.

In other words, integration confidence is an organization’s knowledge that it can leverage its existing ecosystem (or create new ones) to deliver outcomes that are critical to its business.


Six Pillars Of Integration Confidence

Modern, capable integration protocols are required for any organization that wants to remain competitive in today’s multi-channel marketplace, where diverse companies like Amazon and Uber are dominating market shares and attention. However, attaining integration confidence takes time and strategy. As with all great philosophies and structures, it is built on a series of foundations or tenets. We identified six pillars of integration confidence.


#1 – Flexibility of Choice

A flexible organization should have the choice of designing and implementing B2B integration solutions on its own, outsourcing those integrations to an Industry 4.0-enabling managed service provider, or a combination of both strategies that are tailored to their specific needs.


In the case of severe supply chain disruptions, this flexibility (or agility) means an organization never has to modify its business strategy to accommodate its integration approach. Instead, companies can modify that integration approach as needed to respond to market or ecosystem circumstances. For example, the availability of its workforce to execute critical business operations. Flexibility of choice directly impacts a business’s time-to-market and total cost of ownership, especially during times of crisis.

#2 – The Ability to Control

Control over integrations is not easily achievable for many organizations, but not for lack of trying.

Integration control is a legacy challenge that organizations have been struggling to master for years.. To achieve integration confidence, organizations must have a certain level of control over the daily execution of operational tasks, user access to critical integration information, and resourcing strategies.


Controlling daily execution of operational tasks is as simple as identifying and assigning exactly who does what when it comes to integration protocols, and how those actions are performed.

Also, make sure each necessary team member and partner has access to critical integration information to ensure continuous business operations. Finally, an organization has achieved control of resourcing strategies when it can grow and shrink teams as needed, based on demand and the task at hand. An organization should strive to have as much control as it needs to upkeep its business operations.

#3 – The Power of Credibility

Credibility and trust are the foundation of any relationship – be it personal or business. Building a durable relationship with external partners and internal stakeholders requires credibility and trust.

Credibility creates trust between your organization and partners, which is beneficial when it comes to expanding market opportunities, increasing customer retention, accelerating time-to-value of integrations and time-to-market. This credibility takes time and experience to build. Having a capable integration managed service provider can provide your organization with a mix of cloud data integration services and technology, to support the integration strategy that best aligns with your business.

#4 – The Impact of Real-Time Insights

In today’s digital, multi-channel world of global trade, many organizations harness the power of real-time operational insights to power their decision-making processes. Consolidating integrations to a single platform that provides those real-time insights into integration flows helps drive decision-making confidence.

#5 – The Efficiency of A Complete Technology Platform

Consolidating the design, build, analysis, and optimization of workflows of all B2B integration transactions into a single integration platform allows organizations to see a rise in efficiency. This means data reporting becomes easier, resolving issues is simpler and faster, and assessing the health of your business and ecosystem partners becomes more intuitive.


When teams are efficient, they can deliver more value and expertise to their business, all while mitigating business risk. This serves to increase an organization’s level of integration confidence.

#6 – The Visibility of End-To-End Integration Workflows

The ability to gather insights into end-to-end integration workflows – that is, workflows that stretch beyond the edge of your organization – is crucial to building integration confidence. End-to-end visibility is typically lost when a transaction spans across multiple cloud and on-premise systems. The workflow information is, at best, piecemeal and users are left to puzzle the pieces together and decipher the full path of the transaction. This leaves organizations in the dark to certain parts of the transaction that can cause missed SLAs or increased resolution times.


Investing in a modern integration platform eliminates integration blind spots by connecting cloud environments with legacy, on-premise systems to provide true across business processes regardless of where the systems are hosted.


These six pillars are necessary to build confidence in a robust ecosystem integration strategy. If the past few years have been any indication of things to come, market disruption is a constant for which businesses need to be prepared.


Organizations that rely on legacy integration technologies and strategies cannot expect to remain competitive in a digitally-driven world, where the Amazons and Ubers are constantly investing in new and experimental technologies to improve business operations. Organizations should consider ecosystem integration technology to solidify confidence in their ability to continue driving business and profit in the years ahead.

integration case study for duraflame

Duraflame Case Study

“The Cleo Integration Cloud platform is secure, easy to use, and highly flexible to meet our business requirements. Today, more than 98% of our B2B transactions are running through CIC, and we can see everything that’s going on. Cleo’s ecosystem integration platform and their unique blend of self-service and managed services, plus their team’s drive, commitment, and attention to detail all made our migration easy and successful -- we experienced zero problems or issues even though we implemented their solution during our peak business time,” Duraflame’s Director of IT John Hwee said.

Read the Case Study

With Cleo Integration Cloud, Duraflame now has a modern, trusted cloud-based platform that is secure, always on, and highly scalable, enabling the company to manage their higher transaction volumes and seasonally changing order throughput at far less overall cost. CIC is also now supporting the company’s strategic expansion into the charcoal business. Duraflame recently acquired B&B Charcoal and consolidated that business ecosystem onto CIC – bringing two separate business streams together into a single system.

Today, Hwee and his team enjoy a high level of confidence that all EDI transactions are being processed timely and accurately.


“We’ve greatly reduced our time spent resolving issues and it’s comforting to know our systems are being looked after 24 X 7, so that if something does come up, we know about it immediately, and can usually take care of that customer’s issue in less than 24 hours.”

Evaluating Your Current Solution

Now that you know the right questions to ask when comparing integration platforms, here's a tool we’ve developed to help you compare one solution to the next.

This tool will guide you and your team through evaluating and comparing B2B integration solution platforms. The right platform will empower internal teams with the greater visibility, flexibility and faster onboarding that will also in turn create a better customer experience for the businesses you regularly exchange data with.

But understanding the value of a sales enablement platform is only half the battle. The next question is, how will you find the best sales enablement platform to increase sales efficiency, performance and knowledge? Here are a few things to consider as you evaluate features.


  • Scaling - While you may have an idea of how you want to use a platform initially, it’s important your chosen vendor will continue to meet your needs as your business scales and changes. Is the technology flexible? Can the platform handle the additional growth as your business expands?
  • Ease of use - You need teams such as IT, Customer Success, Operations and others to use the technology in which you’ve invested, so keep the user experience top of mind. Is the platform designed to make make things such as error resolution easier on the user? Is it intuitive and easy to navigate, without too many unnecessary clicks or distractions?
  • Forward-Thinking - Think big picture. What other requirements will your B2B Integration solution strategy require in the future? Will you potentially be adding any new applications or platforms that will require you to integrate into? A comprehensive platform safeguards against piecing together various point solutions.
> > Purchasing Guide for B2B Integration Platforms <<


Once you access the tool, here’s all you need to do:


1. Identify the importance of each capability (low/medium/high)

2. Rate how strong each vendor’s capabilities perform (0-4)

3. Calculate the final score of each vendor, combing your assessment plus the weight of importance of each capability


As you dig into the vendor comparisons, you will cover a lot of important topics for consideration, such as

  • Data transformation and mapping
  • Communications and connectivity
  • Monitoring and alerting
  • Visibility and analytics
  • Integration
  • Security
  • Deployment 
  • Compliance
  • Architecture
  • Support
  • Backup & Recovery
  • … and more

It can be overwhelming, to say the least.  Which is another reason why solutions that combine and consolidate much of these aspects are gaining in popularity.  It’s also why many companies are turning to a new category of solutions called “Ecosystem Integration” software, an entirely new approach to B2B integration, one that is rapidly replacing the old ways of doing things.


“With Cleo Integration Cloud we have one cloud-based platform that offers every type of transaction processing that we would need, whatever our customers are asking for.” —Sauder Woodworking

Building a Business Case

While many companies are taking advantage of modern integration technology, the reality is that there are still too many that have yet to do so. Putting it nicely, those companies are using business processes and legacy systems that should have been put out to pasture years ago.


Now ask yourself this question – ‘How are those companies supposed to evolve, stay ahead of their competitors, and deliver value to customers?’ The answer, as you’re already aware is ... they can’t. Enterprises that fail to evolve and embrace a modern and centralized platform are going to find themselves playing catchup for a long time to come.


We are in such a critical time that when these companies do recognize their mistake, it’ll already be too late. If your competitors are ditching their legacy and homegrown systems, it’s time for your enterprise to do the same. The current business landscape is one that companies can’t pigeonhole themselves into and decide only to handle a certain type of customer or trading partner. Flexibility is everything, and without the right technology established, those companies aren’t going to be able to keep up with customer demand.


Instead of viewing issues within your ecosystem as being an integration problem, think about them as a modern business process obstacle that with the right technology partner by your side, can be solved in an instant. Once you’ve made that mindset change, the possibilities are endless.


So how would business leaders know if an ecosystem integration approach is right for them, and what implementation challenges might they encounter?  The simplest tell-tale signs are around revenue, efficiency, and relationships.

If revenue velocity is being impeded due to inefficient integration processes, or there’s a lack of end-to-end visibility across your supply chain, and if these shortcomings are negatively impacting valuable business relationships, then an ecosystem integration solution could help.


As for implementing such a platform, think of it as a technology maturation process that builds on what you already have; there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater just to open your business to the cloud, because ecosystem integration platforms leverage your already-in-place technology infrastructure investment.


So, rest assured that if you use an on-premise file-based integration solution today (MFT), you can steadily progress to add EDI, APIs, and gain better governance and visibility, until you achieve a completely dynamic and intelligent integration solution.

Your Next Steps to Integration Control

Ecosystem integration today is a software technology whose time has come.


Ecosystem integration is different from traditional “internal” integration approaches because it brings an “outside-in” approach to integration.


Traditional integration was always enterprise-centric, concerned primarily with connecting a company to a standard set of business partners and internal applications through common technologies such as EDI, and usually in a batch (i.e., not real-time) manner.


All the thinking was inside-out, not outside-in. In the age of the cloud, that’s been reversed.


As a technology paradigm, digital Ecosystem Integration is about opening up a company to as many suppliers, customers, marketplaces, service providers, and SaaS applications as necessary so that it can conduct frictionless business -- in real-time.


Imagine how fluid your business would be if all the revenue-producing processes that emanate outside your four walls were connected to your mission-critical internal applications through an agile technology platform that can seamlessly respond to changes in market conditions and business mandates from the ecosystem partners.


That’s what Ecosystem Integration does.


By blending traditional batch-based EDI with real-time API capabilities, to provide seamless orchestration across core business processes such as Order to Cash and Procure to Pay.

Well, how can ecosystem integration get you the EDI visibility and order processing control that’s right for you?


No company today can overlook what makes their ecosystem tick. And because Ecosystem integration enables end-to-end visibility across the extended ecosystem of a company’s business partners, it provides the confidence and trust today’s digital-dependent businesses need to foster enduring business relationships.


Right now, we’re witnessing an acceleration in digital transformation, spurred by world’s emergency from the global pandemic and evidenced by the explosion in eCommerce, increase in automation, and rapid adoption of cloud-based SaaS applications.


According to Cleo’s Director of Market Strategy Frank Kenney, a focus on flexibility is critical. 
“Given the pendulum effect of inflation and market dynamics, business leaders need to stop spending time and resources on worrying about what is going to happen next, and focus on building systems that can quickly react and adapt to the evolving state of the supply chain." Kenney wrote in Supply Chain Brain, a technology publication.

As a new category of software, Ecosystem Integration has arrived at just the right time, providing critical digital business-process integration to help companies become digital enterprises.

Now, organizations are able to provide the exceptional customer experiences required to achieve growth and profitability.

Get to Know Cleo Integration Cloud

Cleo Integration Cloud (CIC) is a cloud-based integration platform, purpose-built to design, build, operate and optimize critical ecosystem integration processes.


The CIC platform brings end-to-end integration visibility across API, EDI, and non-EDI integrations that give technical and business users the confidence to rapidly onboard trading partners, enable integration between applications, and accelerate revenue-generating business processes.


On the platform, businesses have the choice of self-service, managed services, or a blended approach – ensuring complete flexibility and control over their EDI B2B integration strategy.


When it comes to EDI visibility, Cleo Integration Cloud doesn't just support the technical integration, it gives you visibility into the underlying business processes.


You get actionable insights into the business value that each EDI document represents presented in the context of its impact on the broader business.


This illustration will give you the sense of what ecosystem integration, as delivered by Cleo Integration Cloud platform, can do for your business.


If you’ve read this far, by now your long-held fears about integration software have diminished if not disappeared.


That should be the case, because with today’s innovative ecosystem integration software platforms are easy to understand, cost-effective, and reliable, and, at long last, they put you in control of this critical area of IT once and for all.

If you’re not quite yet a believer, here are several additional options for you to learn more.

Cleo believes in empowering organizations with greater ways to deliver on business commitments with confidence.


    Explore innovative new ways to streamline your business operations via robust integration.


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    Watch and learn innovative new ways integration is solving B2B integration for the future.

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