Summer. It’s a time to relax, and enjoy the warm days and nights. For us at Youredi’s technical HQ, it is also a time to prepare for the next 12-18-month R&D roadmap.
The roadmap process makes it possible for us to focus on the essentials. Even though we are constantly bringing new features and possibilities to our core customers in the logistics, finance and e-commerce space, we are – at our core, in our DNA - an integration service provider. We integrate information between applications, between organizations, and across continents. Sometimes it is good for us to recap on what this all means, and think about why organizations worldwide are actually using these integration services.
So, why would anyone use data integration service? I think that the main reasons can be narrowed down to three basic facts.
1. You need an integration platform
There’s no longer a question about it. Everywhere we go, we see all organizations coming to terms with the face that they need the right integration solution. Face it, you are not living in a vacuum. You have customers, partners, and vendors that you rely on.
If you are doing any serious business, you need to exchange information with other organizations. You are required to receive orders, send orders and invoices, pay invoices, communicate with officials, etc. Of course, if your volumes aren’t too high, you can do this with traditional ways – using e-mail, fax and phone, or talking face to face. But if you are large enough (or striving to be) there’s simply no way you can spend your valuable human resources to execute all of this communication when it can be automated. If you are already using some IT to manage your inventory, your orders, your billing, why wouldn’t you share this automation with your partners automatically?
Even if you are a start-up, chances are you probably want to grow. And if you want to grow, you need to prepare for scaling. The time for massive departments of people completing all communication requirements with external parties is over. Automated integration between different applications – and different organizations, is essential to growing your business.
2. You don't want to own infrastructure
So, you need integration between different applications. Some of these applications may reside within your own organization, but not all. After all, your customer, your vendors, and your service providers think alike – and they have their own IT systems.
You need a way to communicate with them, and therefore you need an integration solution.
There are two ways you can create any solution, regardless of what it is that you want to solve. You can either build it yourself, or you can buy the data integration solution.
In the past world, communication between businesses was carried out using letters, phones, faxes, and most recently through e-mails. These pieces of information were transferred using a piece of infrastructure. If you were communicating with external companies, did you own the required infrastructure? My guess would be no. I could be wrong, but I am doubtful that you built the telephone lines and networking infrastructure yourself.
The same goes with your other, more physical, transportation needs. Even if you own trucks to physically move your goods, you don’t own the roads. If you own planes, you don’t own the air or airports. And even if you are utilizing water and plumbing, you don’t own the pipes that are transferring liquid outside your office. Again, I am just assuming.
Over the past few years, data integration has undergone the same occurrence.. Integration between companies, and between your internal applications, has become a utility. It’s a utility that lets your applications talk with each other, and communicate directly with your partners’ systems.
Of course there are situations where you want to be in charge of all information exchanges. But you have to ask yourself a couple of things:
Do I want to own all the required hardware and software or do I want to acquire the “information plumbing” as a utility?
Do I want to invest in all the required manpower to maintain the integration solution, or do I want to leave the “plumbing”, the maintenance of the “telephone network”, or making sure that my tap provides all the required water I need, to someone else?
Do I care about CAPEX or OPEX?
These are all things you need to consider wisely. Whether you want your integration solution to be built and managed in-house, or would you rather subscribe to an existing data integration service. Modern cloud integration, cloud EAI, or cloud EDI (whatever you want to call it) is mature, but rapidly developing.
3. You want to be sure that the infrastructure is constantly developing
After all, you need to make sure that the information travels. However, only in very rare cases is ensuring information interchange your core business. Your core business lies in the data itself, not the way it is moved across the globe. It is not your core business to ensure that such information can be interpreted and understood by all your partners. And it is not your core business to ensure that this information exchange network works 24/7.
Cloud-based integration can ensure that your information is available in right places, in right format, at the right time. In addition to that, integration services act as your universal translator. They make sure your information is transformed so that your trading partner can easily receive and understand it.
They act as the plumbers. And unlike the road network, the rails, or the air – or even unlike the ordinary telephone or communications network – they are the ones who make it a priority to bring more capabilities to your business at all times. So if you want to leave your integration headache to another party, cloud-based integration provided by a data integration service is the way to go. It’s the proven way ensure scalability without increasing investments, and interoperability across all modes and formats. The goal of any data integration service? Providing peace of mind, and allowing you to focus on your core-business.
Data integration services are committed to building the infrastructure that your business needs. That has been the core focus of Youredi’s roadmap from the very beginning, and it will continue to be in the future as well. We will be your plumbers.