Digital transformation is both a key challenge and a fecund opportunity for businesses today. Businesses that are still waiting to embark on their transformation journey will soon depend on doing so for their very survival. Since the turn of the century, 52 percent of Fortune 500 companies have either declared bankruptcy, ceased operations, or been acquired by other companies due to a lack of digital transformation. On the other hand, most businesses that lead in innovation and have undergone complete digital transformation have increased their revenue by 23 to 34 percent.
Integration is a crucial part of your organization’s digital transformation journey. With an integrated digital business, you can connect your business processes with one another for better collaboration and communication.
Integration will boost your business productivity in more than one way:
- You’ll have a unified record of your business to help reduce human error
- You can easily grant authorized users access to any part this unified business record
- It improves operational efficiency and business growth
- An integrated infrastructure means faster, more effective, and more secure business operations
Here are some recent trends in enterprise application integration that smart businesses are using to their advantage:
Switching to the cloud
Cloud-based application integration is becoming the de facto framework for enabling on-premises and cloud-based business applications to seamlessly act as secure, unified infrastructure. More than 60% of businesses are considering implementing cloud integration.
Cloud integration eliminates the need to maintain multiple on-premises and cloud-based information silos and enables authorized users to access business information across geographic locations. It also enables more effective information security by ensuring that the most significant security controls like intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems are in place and accessible during service initialization.
Hybrid integration platforms (HIPs) provide a cost-optimal method of seamlessly connecting your on-premises solutions to your cloud applications with transport-layer security to bridge any gaps between the applications. With an HIP, your business can synchronize applications and centralize your data to improve ease of access.
Moving from data-driven to data-centric
Businesses often confuse being data-centric with being data-driven, but the two are very different. Being data-driven means developing your organizational culture so that it uses data for different business processes, while being data-centric means transforming your organization in such a way that data becomes its primary resource. A data-driven approach accounts for all the processes, tools, and cultural changes required to act on data, but lacks the internal transformation of your business that revolves around data.
Data-driven is the first step to being data-centric, but there are several reasons why it isn’t enough. Using a data-driven approach in an ad hoc or piecemeal fashion for individual business processes often causes tunnel vision because it doesn’t account for long-term benefits or challenges.
Furthermore, without a data-centric culture, you might be missing bits and pieces of data, which could lead to misleading information. With a data-centric approach, your entire organization revolves around data, which enables you to draw on more data sources, resulting in more accurate information.
Businesses are increasingly pursuing data-centricity by using application integration platforms to reconcile, centralize, and standardize their data to make it easier to access, combine, and analyze. Doing so manually could take days if not weeks, but it can be done in hours or minutes with application integration.
Suppose you need to collect data from financial and supply chain data stored across your on-premises applications, cloud resources, and external vendor portals. Application integration allows you want to combine that data into a unified record and then run simulations, regressions, and other kinds of analysis to identify which of your departments and physical locations are underutilizing your assets, and why.
Read more: Basics of Retail Process Integration
More and more businesses are generating business intelligence and analytics on integrated data at runtime. In other words, instead of storing integrated data in warehouses and then performing complex, time-consuming analysis in batches, organizations are performing analysis on the fly. Decision makers receive the insights they need nearly instantly, allowing them to monitor internal and external changes in real time and make time-sensitive decisions.
Access to real-time analytics can vastly improve your ability to personalize the experience of your customers and employees alike. If your analytics solution detects a spike in popularity for a particular product, your product recommendation engine can immediately begin offering that product to the most receptive customer segments. Similarly, your organization’s decision makers won’t have to wait until the end of the week or month to receive actionable intelligence, and each user can customize their real-time reports so they only receive the types of information that inform their particular business role.
Establishing integrated digital operations simplifies enterprise-wide decision making, improves productivity, and reduces costs. Cloud technology, data-centricity, and runtime analytics have proven to be viable ways to improve the value of application integration even further.
For more information on how an experienced, industry-focused technology partner can help streamline your integration process, contact Visionet.