With most major enterprise application systems in place, companies are finding more and more ways to improve and automate business processes by integrating their systems. In fact, a leading industry analyst firm predicts that integration will lead the next wave of IT innovation and expects that companies will soon be spending more on application integration than on new application systems. With numerous integration projects on the horizon, businesses need to look at integration from a strategic perspective, not simply how they are going to connect A to B to C.
It’s easy to see why integration is moving the forefront of IT priorities. Integration provides solutions to real business problems, improving organizational efficiency, performance, and business intelligence. For instance, enterprises can integrate applications to:
Consolidate data among offices to provide a clear financial picture across P&Ls
Deliver real-time order, repair, shipping and payment information to their customer service team
Automate and accelerate order processing by linking product information, inventory, credit approvals, and customer history within their e-commerce system
Enhance communications within the supply chain
Create integrated mobile apps
And much more
However, integration must be done the right way, or it can become a significant money pit. It’s important to find an agile, scalable and cost-effective integration solution that can adapt and grow with your business and your integration needs.
Custom integrations are tactical, not strategic. Assigning a team of programmers to create a custom integration solution locks you into a never-ending chain of tweaks, fixes, and workarounds that you need to continue to build upon as operating systems and vendors change. Custom integrations pretty much ensure that you cannot upgrade the systems your jerry-rigged solution is connecting and they’re not scalable either.
A strategic integration solution must help streamline your already complex IT environment rather than make it more complicated. For example, it’s not uncommon for a business to have amassed many different back-end systems, often running on different operating systems, using different databases and languages or even multiple versions of the same application from the same vendor as a result of mergers, acquisitions, changes in the enterprise software market and various business decisions over time. And don’t forget that some organizations have hybrid cloud setups and perhaps even a mainframe buried in there somewhere.
Just think how you can make your life easier and your business more efficient and streamlined if you had one integration solution that could handle the vast majority of your integration needs. One that required a minimal learning curve from your development team. One where you wouldn’t need specialists in every type of programming language, API and Web Service, because this kind of detail was taken care of under the hood.
One that had optimized connectors to leading enterprise systems including SAP, Salesforce, Oracle JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Microsoft, IBM, SYSPRO and others to make sure integration is done right and never needs to be done again, even in forced or voluntary upgrade situations. And one that provide enterprise-grade security, 24/7 availability to support your global business and is robust enough to support the increasing numbers of transactions due to big data, social media, enterprise mobility, and the cloud
Integration is a long-term investment in the lifetime of your organization; and goals, methodologies, and tools need to be analyzed in that light. When viewed through the prism of best business practices, efficient integration creates a significant competitive advantage by streamlining the most critical processes that grow your bottom line.
Such a strategic integration solution is not a pipe dream. It’s available today and will serve you well as integration projects become a bigger part of your daily routine.
By Regev Yativ, CEO of Magic Software Enterprises Americas.