Gartner reports that “Through 2020, integration work will account for 50% of the time and cost of building a digital platform”.
Here are some trends that indicate the growing importance of integration:
- Cloud adoption has gone beyond mainstream. Almost every software application is now hosted on the cloud by default.
- Data creation happens on a massive scale from on-premises, mobile, connected devices and social media. All these data need to be integrated to have a single view of truth.
- IT agility is a necessary competitive strategy. Businesses that rely on standalone tools and platforms may get stuck with redundancies. They will lack the IT infrastructure and data agility to face new business challenges.
Two other reasons why integration is the way forward for digital platforms is outlined below:
ERP out, Integrated Platforms In
Okay, ERP is not totally out. It is going to be around for the long-term. But, the face of these legacy systems are changing for the good. They are becoming integrated platforms that can integrate easily with data and applications to run a lean organization.
For instance, ERPs for inventory management, CRM, marketing, etc. used to be disconnected from rest of the operations. Today, with integrations, they are all connected together to form a chain of systems that communicate with each other. The mushrooming growth of social media, IoT, Big Data, even Blockchain has made ERPs truly integrated.
The future is an integrated data world
Analytics. Data science. Artificial Intelligence. Machine learning. These are terms that have become buzzwords from water coolers talks to boardroom discussions. All these high-performance promising technologies have a single core element. Integrated data. It is not just data, but data from all possible sources collected, assorted and accumulated in a single repository to make these technologies work.
Without high quality data, all applications and platforms stand the risk of a collapse. So, the future is deemed to be an integrated data-world where integrations happen seamlessly. Digital platforms of the future need to be highly integrated or ready for integrations to stay relevant in the near future.
The tangible & intangible benefits of integration
Integration can bring to a business several tangible and intangible benefits, the obvious ones being easier sharing of data between systems, faster reporting, and data-backed decision making.
Sharing of data
Fact: In the US alone, the automobile industry suffers as much as $1 Billion in losses due to interoperability faults. Such losses can be curtailed if the digital platform or application is integrated for data interoperability. The sharing of data will also empower executives as well as C-suite members to have a holistic view of the business.
When data is neatly integrated with every dependent source, it helps in automating of recurring processes. For instance, in digital marketing, collecting emails from a CRM system for an email marketing campaign becomes easy if the email is captured and stored in a way the email marketing tool needs it. The automation fastens the process, reduces errors and improves productivity. When the process is repeated several times throughout the year, the benefits are immeasurable.
In the digital space, customer preferences that are norm today could be obsolete tomorrow. The digital platform should be agile to respond to changes in preferences. Integration allows for data to flow from all channels thus giving an idea of what users are doing with the platform and how it can be improved to better serve their purpose. It helps for detecting shifts in market dynamics early on and make suitable changes to the platform to stay relevant with it.
The Way Forward
Most enterprises miss the benefits that their systems can bring as a single integrated entity. As disparate systems, they will remain efficient in their own processes without bringing holistic value. Through integration, their combined productivity will be unleashed leading to faster decision-making, exploration of new revenue avenues and better IT agility.
To know more about integration and its importance get in touch with our expert team at Suyati.