Tag Archives: automation

Integration Solution Must-Haves: Process Automation & Event Management

This blog post is part of an ongoing series encompassing the top must-haves when selecting an integrated solution.

With companies of all sizes facing the “do more with less” imperative, it’s not surprising that process automation has become a common trend and technology solutions that manage events based on business rules are being given further consideration.

With an automation tool in place, transactions and processes can be event-driven, scheduled or triggered based on various business rules. This ability to seamlessly establish data and process synchronization rules using complex algorithms puts company success first by leaving far less up to chance with manual handling. By replacing manually initiated processes with software, companies can realize a reduction in errors, an enhanced work and process flow, lower expenses and improved efficiency.

What’s more, business rules trigger actions based on transaction receipt, non-receipt, generation or errors. Just make sure that your chosen solution provides the ability to design and configure automated procedures that generate and route events, actions, alerts or aborts based on errors or missed timelines. Continue reading

Integration Solution Must-Haves: Automated Object Generation

This blog post is part of an ongoing series encompassing the top must-haves when selecting an integrated solution.

Companies spend a lot of time and effort on the design phase of a typical integration project. While using an object or model-driven approach – discussed earlier in this series – to set up transactions, processes and associated rules increases efficiency, automated object generation provides enhanced performance and reduces downstream workload.

Automated Object GenerationUsing a model-driven approach, companies can build objects with given rules and store them in the object library for re-use. However, with automated object generation, it’s possible to generate objects using metadata, sample data or other machine-readable data. For instance, you could generate an EDI trading partner profile based on ISA envelope information, or even generate a purchase order document definition by using an X12 850 file. In addition, objects can be generated using heuristically-driven algorithms.

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Automate the most important business processes in your company

Common business processes are performed within both large and small companies each and every day.  Many of these processes are manual, but they don’t have to be.  They can be automated.  Numerous companies use business process automation to initiate theses common processes and see them through from end to end.   What exactly is business process automation?  Business process automation is defined by Gartner as the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies.   It not only includes the automated execution, but also the composition and the integration of the processes within the company.

So, why automate?    The simple answer is to save time and money.   By replacing manually initiated processes with software, companies can realize a reduction in errors, an enhanced work and process flow, lower expenses and improved efficiency.  Companies can basically do more with less which directly affects the bottom line. Continue reading

How to Grow a Business through Integration

Going for Growth

You’re ready to take your company to the next level, and know that in order to do this, you’ll need to change the way you do business. How do you better serve your customers, become more competitive, and take on new customers faster without breaking the bank, or over-extending staff and resources?

Processes Ease the Pressure

When it comes to IT, most small to mid-sized businesses face the same challenges: lack of budget and lack of staff. These departments struggle to maintain day-to-day operations, let alone have time to think about long-term strategies to help grow the business. In order to ease the pressure off IT, you’ll need to focus on creating more efficient processes that you can then automate.

Automation Starts with Integration

Before you look at what current processes can be condensed and automated, you need to make sure that all of your systems are, or can be, properly integrated. With a true integrator at the center of your data, you will be able to quickly increase the number of automated connections between applications, data and partner interfaces – without any custom code.

One Integrator to Connect Them All

A true integrator will connect to and exchange data with your existing internal systems, and the systems of your customers, vendors and suppliers. It will give you complete control over your data, and allow you to automate the processes that enable you to easily communicate with all parties, make faster business decisions, and take on new customers in far less time. A true integrator is designed with business “rules of engagement” in mind – meaning, no matter what your IT infrastructure looks like today or in 5 years, you will always comply with new and existing customer requirements. See how EXTOL integrates > 

 

The Long Tail of Automated B2B Transactions

The benefits of automating the exchange of business transaction documents between B2B trading partners (customers, suppliers, and service providers), including time and clerical cost savings, as well as increased accuracy, are well known. This automation is typically accomplished utilizing some type of standardized data formatting, such as traditional EDI or, in some cases, industry specific XML documents. Initial implementations frequently involve trading partners with high transaction volumes, and/or those of significant strategic importance.

The next stage of partner integration involves implementing those trading partners with lower transaction volumes, but who also have the capability to exchange transaction data utilizing standardized data formatting. After this, automating transactions with your remaining trading partners involves a greater challenge, since they are frequently smaller businesses who cannot justify the required investment in softwareand/or do not have the level of IT sophistication required to implement and integrate B2B data exchange with their internal applications.

There are a number of alternatives which a larger organization can utilize with their smaller and less IT capable trading partners that will provide many of the benefits of automated B2B transactions to both parties. These include:

  • Implementing web-based software that trading partners can use to send or receive transactions. For example, this software could present purchase orders to a small vendor from the same system used to send orders to EDI capable vendors. The small vendor would log into the website to receive the orders, which could be printed or downloaded in a spreadsheet. When the order is ready to be shipped, the small vendor could log back into the website and add the shipping and billing information to the original order. The larger organization would receive all the benefits of automated transactions, and the small vendor would also receive the same benefits except for the clerical cost savings.
  • The same scenario described above could be providedas a service by an EDI VAN (traditional EDI VANs are now considered ‘in the cloud’), or some other third party service provider.
  • Documents could be exchanged as spreadsheets attached to emails sent between trading partners. There is B2B integration software available that can create and process spreadsheet data in addition to standardized data exchange formats.
  • Software (both on-premise and available as a service) is available that can reformat data in standardized data exchange formats to an easily readable document and fax it to a smaller vendor. Some systems also have the capability of receiving faxed documents and transforming the information into standardized formats, although the accuracy achieved with this method is not always acceptable.

With the technology available today, automating the integration of business documents with small B2B partners is practical and affordable.