Ever since computers arrived in the business world, they’ve tracked both customer and employee data. Over time, the applications used to manage data have evolved immensely, as have the many uses of big data analytics.
Data is no longer just the names of your customers, their phone numbers and addresses, and what their last purchase was. Today, it is much more complex. As the uses of data become more infinite, so do the applications used to capture and track data.
It is likely that your company has many applications from different eras with various purposes, used for customer relations, supply tracking, or HR. These apps need to be integrated. They need to share common data and update each other on relevant changes to ensure that information is accurate on each platform. Read on for more information.
The need for integration
While the development and further improvement of technologies which businesses rely on is great, it also presents a problem. How do you get these apps from different eras, with different functions, to work in concert with one another?
Answering this question for your company means more productivity from your staff and accuracy of data across multiple business applications. It means that your supply chain management software and CRM (customer relationship management) software can seamlessly share relevant data. It could even lead to greater profitability for your company.
Integration is simply gathering data from one silo and putting it into another. However, when you have different apps from different developers with different capabilities, this can be problematic. A change to data in one application will go unnoticed by the rest, and now you have conflicting sets of data. You have to designate someone in your company to monitor changes in data and input these changes in every platform to make sure that information is accurate and in real-time on every platform. Or, is there a better way?
Getting your applications to work together
Enterprise application integration (EAI) is the process of getting your business applications to communicate and share relevant data. Manually extracting data from one application and inputting it in another presents too great of a risk for human error. Enterprise applications (EA) do not automate inter-app communication, so an EAI is necessary to build links between the different applications. This is crucial for the automation of business and data analytics processes.
The EAI recognizes common data, tracks the changes of data across the many enterprise platforms, and keeps every app abreast of these changes. It also provides a uniform user interface across multiple platforms so that employees will not require much training when new apps are added. This ensures that your company remains focused on productivity rather than employee training.
EAI software works with your other EAs, whether they be CRMs, ERPs, or SCMs, to make your business process more data-centered. In other words, the applications become subject to the data instead of the other way around. While a powerful EAI system can tackle that for you, it will also require human IT support to run seamlessly and handle issues on the fly.
Finding the right people for the job can be a challenge. Even if you have a great IT support team already, you don’t want to spread them too thinly or pull them off of other tasks that are critical to your company’s operations. A managed services integration provider, like Liaison Technologies, can alleviate the burden of integrating your data.
Outsourcing integration operations is more cost efficient then hiring more IT support staff. Many companies that sell EAI software also offer managed services. That means you’ll have specialists who know the software intimately standing at-the-ready to provide integration support and solutions. Once your EAs are integrated, you will be surprised how hands-off many of your business processes can be.