Tag Archives: integration

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.

Continue reading

Integration Solution Must-Haves: Any-to-Any Integration

This blog post is part one of a series encompassing the top ten must-haves when selecting an integration solution.

For many organizations, integration capabilities have become mission-critical. They have also increased in complexity. It is now more difficult than ever for companies to produce the right data, in the proper format and at the right time when making key decisions. The result is data integrity and confidentiality risk. More importantly, you risk losing business, as external and internal consumers of data will quickly lose trust and walk away.

With the multitude of niche integration solutions now available, companies must navigate a complex and costly environment, often times incredibly difficult to manage. These point solutions bear inherent risks of inaccuracy and inconsistency, as each solution has in place different procedures and best practices.it-ecosystem

With this in mind, organizations have begun consolidating their solutions to simplify their environment while addressing newer requirements. This has resulted in the adoption of singular, comprehensive solutions that can seamlessly perform any-to-any integration.

Continue reading

The Dollar Value of Integration – Part 1: Time to Revenue

As you know, Time to Revenue is the period of time from the signing of a contract until the business arrangement starts to produce revenue.  Depending on the complexity of the contract, it could be days, weeks, months or longer.

When we talk about Integration between external suppliers and both our internal and external customers, months and quarters are simply too long.

Consider that your salesman just landed that new big account, but it requires electronic data exchange.  With a single integration platform handling all EDI transactions, your customer’s purchase orders will flow into your system in days.  What this means is that your company is producing revenue from the new customer in a matter of days.  Any CFO would be delighted with this news.

Now, let’s take this example a little further.  We are receiving POs just days after signing the contract, but we only recognize the value AFTER we can ship and invoice the customer.  Again, your integration platform comes to the rescue by creating data flows that identify when shipments and invoices are created in your back-end system and convert them into a format that the customer can already accept. 

In this example, we did not burden or disrupt the way your customer does business.  What really happened is that you just made it easier for companies to do more business with YOU.

If you can quickly onboard new customers, you not only recognize revenue, but your company will gain a reputation of being easy to do business with and you will help to build very strong customer loyalty.  It may even be the competitive advantage that allows you to become your customer’s Vendor of Choice.

Integration is a competitive advantage that positions your company to say “Yes” to your customers and partners.  When you can confidently say “Yes” to data integration requests, you are positioned to grow your revenue streams deeper and wider.

Watch the Integration Power$ Business 3-part mini-series at: www.extol.com/bethehero

When to Consider an Integration Platform

As businesses grow and evolve, so do the internal applications, systems and processes they depend on to run their operations. In addition to IT changes, they also encounter changes with departments, people, trading partners and other internal and external responsibilities. The impact of these changes is often not realized until it reaches a “Critical Point.” The Critical Point could be anything from performance degradation of both systems and people to losing business because of it. Some of the contributors could be the processes, the flow of data or even the format of the data being exchanged between internal and external applications (including cloud) and trading partners. This may signify the need for an Integration Platform in your organization. Factors that affect the need for an Integration Platform are specifically:

·Organizational changes – There may be people leaving, new people being added to your company or departmental responsibilities shifting. When there are organization changes at this level, domain expertise can be lost leading to process paralysis.

·New trading partner mandates – To start doing business with a new trading partner, you must accommodate their data and communication requirements.

·Customer retention – To keep current customers, accommodating their business requests is critical and may include modifications to the data format or a new format implementation.

·Executive mandate – New directives may have been received from the executive team to consolidate all redundant data and/or siloed applications.

·Business process improvement –Improving performance and efficiency of your business processes may require redefinition of the processes that move data throughout the organization and to/from trading partners.

·Systems modernization – The current implementation may include many legacy solutions for each partner or application that is reliant on fragile custom coded solutions. Consider modernizing systems to remove the dependency on custom coded solutions.

·Automation – Automating the transfer of data between your applications and partners would improve reliability and data safety.

·Electronic transfer – Compliance with certain e-commerce or government mandates could drive an opportunity for innovation.

If any of the above factors are occurring in your organization, it is time to consider adding an Integration Platform to accommodate the changes before your systems reach that “Critical Point”.

Death by 1,000 Integration Tools

Unlike traditional on-premise software, the economics of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) allow for profitable delivery of narrow, highly-specialized applications. As a result, the average SaaS application user consumes more applications than an average user of on-premise software. GetApp currently tracks over 5800 business apps and estimates that there are around 10,000 SaaS vendors, worldwide. And according to Intermedia, the average small-to-medium business uses more than 14 applications, from a variety of vendors.

Few applications, SaaS or otherwise, function as closed systems. So it’s no surprise that the explosion of SaaS applications has produced an aftershock of tools for integrating with external (cloud and on-premise) data and applications. SaaS leaders like Salesforce.com and NetSuite support ecosystems with tens or hundreds of integration options. But even the smallest SaaS application vendors offer one or two integration options. Continue reading