Why you need to consolidate data integration now
Imagine you had one cell phone to make phone calls and another to send text messages. And what if you had to tote around a third device solely to send email, and then yet another tool to access your daily calendar?
It’s easy to realize the absurdity of that scenario, but many IT environments are divided in a similar way. Modern technology is built to avoid fragmentation, and just as a single phone consolidates a wide range of functions, it should be similarly easy to realize a more commonsense approach to the critical IT integration infrastructure in your organization.
Efficient communication means the reliable exchange of documents, files, and messages among customers, employees, suppliers, and contract workers, but it’s not always present. The constant movement of inventory, payroll, and invoice documents, and various other internal and external exchanges, drive business so having a slew of separate, disconnected processes should sound a very loud alarm.
Ask your nearest system admin if the design of his organization’s IT integration infrastructure is ideal; chances are the network is composed of disparate systems “glued together” with years of custom code. This dysfunction entangles IT, which has to invest time and energy in the maintenance, monitoring, and management of each singular piece of the network.
A pointed and efficient data environment should be a goal for every IT department. That’s where the consolidation of data integration can work wonders for a business.
How to identify a fragmented infrastructure
Patchwork solutions do function, and for many organizations they’re business as usual, so why update to a full data integration solution? Besides the clear benefit of saving an IT department’s sanity, consolidation can cut costs with a tighter, more streamlined infrastructure to better suit your business data integration and information flow needs.
Your business may need to consolidate its integration when you or your IT department:
- Routinely use multiple non-communicative systems to oversee business transactions.
- Enlist expensive professional services and consulting to keep all of the systems running.
- Spend countless hours troubleshooting processing disruptions during high-volume periods.
- Are often left in the dark as to whether file transfers were executed on time — or even at all.
- Must log in to more than one system to access auditing reports for a single process.
- Have employees use a third-party, online file-sharing service, or email platform to conduct standard business functions.
If any of these situations plague your business, it may be time to invest in a data integration solution. A consolidated infrastructure allows organizations to move, view, and act on data by:
- Standardizing operations and gaining visibility into processes, thereby better meeting compliance standards.
- Embracing inevitable business and IT changes, opening up an opportunity to be a proactive, forward-thinking company.
- Freeing up their IT department to focus on strategy and business growth rather than addressing individual data workflow problems.
- Allowing their business to grow organically – in any type of cloud, on-premises, or hybrid environment – without having to think about it.
Think big picture, not individual pieces
If a single transfer bounces through several disparate components and multiple workflows, interoperability vanishes, costing your company valuable time and money. The larger challenge many enterprises face, however, is balancing secure file sharing and collaboration with system-to system integration. Sure, it’s easy to implement a quick, easy-to-use file sharing solution, but sometimes that creates a shadow IT scenario and comes at the cost of governance, regulation, and compliance demands.
For instance, if the last batch of CAD files (or benefits enrollment files, or transaction balancing files) keeps tripping up the system late on a Friday afternoon, an employee might find it more convenient to log in to a personal email or file-sharing account to share files with an external user. Repetition of this workaround could eventually make its way into other processes, putting a business at risk of a data breach or hefty regulatory fines.
There are a plethora of integration pieces available that handle the single, tactical issues that pop up, but instead of reaching for a single bolt to tack on yet another component, think about a comprehensive single-platform solution to enable all of your business’s A2A and B2B data integration functions. These integrated systems are efficient and dramatically improve workflows while also elevating the customer experience, creating an agile, scalable business that can deliver results now and in the future.
Joe Dupree is the vice president of marketing for Cleo, an industry leader in information integration and interactive engagement solutions. Joe has more than 20 years of software industry experience in roles that span product marketing, product management, and software engineering. For more information, visit www.cleo.com.