As a business grows in size, it also grows in complexity. Here, the need for advanced tools, platforms, and systems also arises. Each tool, application, or platform serves a critical role in your business operations. You have to establish various standard operating procedures to ensure everything is streamlined and there are no unexpected hiccups.
But guess what? You can only continue for so long like this. Sooner or later, you will have to integrate your disparate systems and platforms with each other to unlock their maximum potential. This is where business process integration plays a vital role. It helps you understand how connecting disparate systems, eliminating data silos, and integrating various processes makes you more efficient.
This article explains business process integration and why you need integration services.
What is Business Process Integration?
Business process integration refers to how a company connects its employees, applications, platforms, tools, and data. It allows for better coordination internally (between different teams) as well as externally (partners, customers, vendors, etc.).
As companies scale their operations, their processes also become more complicated.
For example, imagine a shoemaker that buys shoe polish from one vendor. However, after a spike in demand, the shoemaker contacts three more vendors. At this moment, the shoemaker (a solopreneur) is able to manage all three vendors without much hassle. But as years go by and the shoemaker becomes more popular, the number of vendors, employees, and customers increases exponentially.
This compels the shoemaker to use various software for different business functions, like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform for managing customer queries, orders, etc. The shoemaker also utilizes an HRM tool besides using one for managing its accounts and finances.
Now, the shoemaker is using different processes, platforms, and tools to manage its business operations. But these various platforms or tools are not integrated with each other, and hence there exist data silos. Connecting data from these tools is a time-consuming manual process. This brings down productivity levels.
To overcome this predicament, the shoemaker needs to automate its business processes. And that can only be achieved once these processes and systems are integrated. Thus, a business process integration solution becomes critical for business process automation.
Types of Business Process Integrations
Integration is a tricky business as no two systems integrate the same way. There are three main types of integrations that allow different systems to communicate with each other.
Let’s discuss these briefly.
- Native integrations – these integrations are already offered by an application, which makes them very uncomplicated. All you need to do is give permission for two applications or tools to integrate so that data can flow seamlessly between the two.
- API integrations – an API integration takes place when two or more applications connect via their application programming interfaces (APIs) to share data and communicate. For example, many e-commerce businesses use custom APIs to join their online store with a payment processor.
- Third-party integrations – each company has its own unique needs and requirements, which is why many choose to develop their own custom software solutions. However, sometimes you can add a specific capability to your existing platform using third-party integrations; you don’t have to develop software just to add one or two features.
Your choice of integration really depends on your needs and technology stack. The goal of any integration is to enhance productivity by removing data silos and enabling effective communication between the various systems, applications, and platforms in an organization.
Advantages of Business Process Integration – Why you Need to Integrate your Systems
Now that we have discussed what business process integration (BPI) is, it is time to look at why you need it.
All you need to do is look at the benefits of BPI to understand why you need it. Here are some of the significant benefits of integrating your business processes.
1. Increases Productivity
If you haven’t integrated your systems, the likelihood is that your employees are not working to their full potential. The absence of integration severely impacts workforce efficiency, compelling your workers to work more than they should for little marginal value.
This inefficiency primarily stems from the fact that they have to move between and navigate different enterprise systems continuously. They have to access data from one system and then feed it into another, naturally increasing the chances of error. Not to mention the time wasted doing something that can simply be automated.
By integrating your applications, data, and systems, you free your employees from mundane tasks and enable them to focus on more important business operations like strategizing or addressing partner or customer concerns.
2. Removes Data Silos
The absence or lack of data integration leads to data silos. Data silos occur when you have multiple enterprise systems whose data are isolated from each other. This makes it very time-consuming for teams and individuals to access vital data spread across various systems, thus causing a dip in productivity and creating data silos.
Business executives often complain that they have an incomplete view of company data owing to such silos. This prevents them from making informed decisions and generating valuable insights. Nevertheless, integration helps you overcome this problem by giving your employees a comprehensive view of enterprise data. It creates a single source of truth everyone in your organization can use.
3. Enables Business Process Automation
Process automation is a hallmark of digital transformation. It helps you standardize your workflow, reduce the chances of human error, and automate repetitive tasks. However, process automation is very difficult, if not impossible, if your systems and applications are not integrated.
You can utilize a workflow integration strategy to enable effective automation. Let’s take an example to highlight this further.
Imagine that your customer sales representatives have to add customer and vendor data into a digital system manually. You can automate this process by integrating your sales and purchase platforms with a database. Your employees can then use various features like drag-and-drop and data validation to complete this process in a mere fraction of the time it takes to do it manually.
It will remove the need for manual entries, thereby reducing the chances of human error and saving precious time that your employees can put to more productive use.
Business process integration is crucial to a modern enterprise and digital transformation. As your company grows in size and complexity and utilizes new technologies to achieve business goals, systems, and processes, integration is necessary. Without integrating your apps, data, and systems, your workforce productivity will always remain suboptimal.
And that means you’ll be losing out on money and opportunities.
Contact us at [email protected] to book a FREE consultation with our Integration Services team. We’d love to explore how Xavor can help you integrate your systems to unlock greater workforce efficiencies.