Updated on: February 3rd, 2023
If you are reading this post, you probably already have some sort of data integration solution in place, whether it’s coded by hand or developed with an ESB. Chances are also high that you are looking for a solution that can provide you with more benefits than your current solutions.
Recently, cloud-based integration platforms have started to become popular. Those companies that have already adopted an iPaaS (integration platform as a service) have seen the immense benefits of the tool, both concerning internal and external integrations.
In this blog, we are focusing on seven benefits of data integration you could see once you’ve switched to an iPaaS.
Being a leading provider of data integration and connectivity solutions for logistics and the global supply chain, Youredi works daily with hundreds of companies from around the globe, helping them to ensure seamless data flows with all their trading partners.
From our experience, the top benefits data integration provides include the following:
- Streamlined connectivity with trading partners
- Integration of data from multiple sources to avoid data siloes
- Availability of business-critical data at the right time and right place
- The ability to get more insights to bring process improvements
- Better collaboration with your stakeholders
- Ensuring data integrity and higher quality of your data
- Increased competitiveness
1. Easy and fast connections
Traditionally, developing connections with trading partners has been a painful task that took a long time, sometimes even months. Often, this is still the case. Point-to-point hand-coded integrations are not only time-consuming but also risky. Whenever you have more than three connections, adjusting them can be difficult. Implementing a small change in one of the integrations may result in an error or a bug in the rest of them. Also, sometimes integration vendors struggle to deliver connections on time (especially if they need to integrate different systems and applications).
However, in the fast-paced era of globalization, one cannot wait not even weeks with deploying a single connection between two data sources.
When you need to integrate data sources internally, you want to ensure that it happens as quickly as possible, so all of your employees have the information they need to utilize for improved processes.
Deploying new connections is even more critical when you need to enable them between your organization and your trading partners. The faster you can onboard new parties, the sooner you will be able to start working with them immediately in a much more efficient way.
Doing data integrations in the cloud is the new trend. It is not only easy and fast because of the pre-built adapters and connectors that can be easily replicated, but the iPaaS architecture has been designed to make even complex B2B integrations simple: mapping has been made more straightforward, as well as it enables the integration architects to work with different data standards and formats.
2. Integrate data from multiple sources
You are using tons of applications, systems, and data warehouses within your organization. Nevertheless, these data sources are disparate and siloed; thus, it's difficult to make better sense of all the available information.
For better collaboration, it is vital to connect all the different data sources with each other to exploit the value of insights. Once all the information is available in a single place in real-time for all the right stakeholders, you will be able to use the information to improve processes and provide better customer service.
Additionally, you also need to be able to connect to the systems of your trading partners, such as manufacturers, suppliers, logistics companies, customers, and many more, depending on your business.
This is where data integration gets very important. Typically, B2B integrations are very complex and require integration expertise. Often, hundreds or even thousands of data sources need to be integrated. What makes it even more difficult is that some data sources are on-premise while others are cloud-based. Not to mention firewalls, different protocols, and various data formats that complicate your integration project even further.
Integrating all these different sources is the number one priority to extract the data, but you can see why it's a challenge.
The role of an iPaaS here is to enable communications between all these different systems and applications and homogenize the data flowing between them.
3. Availability of the data
Data siloes and batch processing are not sustainable. You need to have the data available for all the right stakeholders in one place and at the right moment. This is why it’s essential to connect all the data sources as fast as possible to obtain all the necessary information as soon as possible in a single place.
While in some industries transferring data once or twice a day can be enough, most industries are much more fast-paced than that, and you need to be able to make sense of all the available information in real time.
4. More insights bring improvements
Once you have all the data available in one place, you will be able to utilize the available information better.
Perhaps, you will be able to use the data in its raw form, or you need to have data analysts to create insights from the available information.
Whether you can use the data, or some data wizards need to work their magic on the information, the result is guaranteed: you will have better intelligence on your operations and customers, and you will be able to make better decisions based on the available information and straightforwardly improve your processes.
Typically, data has a lot of hidden value. Those that realize it early enough and unlock the information hidden in all the data will be able to have a considerable advantage compared to their competition.
5. Better collaboration
Whether you need to improve collaboration internally or with your trading partners, you will be able to do so just by integrating data. Surprisingly, simply automating the flow of information can have a positive impact on how you do business.
It’s crucial that any relevant stakeholder can get hold of the relevant data that they need. They can’t only utilize better insights, but data integration may automate some processes that have previously been manual.
Whether it's internal or external integration, your teams and stakeholders will be able to collaborate better because they have more information at their disposal.
6. Data integrity and data quality
Data integrity is an essential element of data integration. Data integrity is the assurance of the consistency and quality of the data through its entire lifecycle.
Nevertheless, most of the data is still of poor quality.
Many of our current customers came to us with the following problem: when they receive information from their trading partners, there are missing fields or false data. They are struggling with the validation and cleansing of the data as it is incredibly time-consuming when done manually. Also, some data formats, such as EDIFACT, are challenging to read by the human eye. This slows down the validation process.
Using an iPaaS can be the solution for poor-quality data. By defining rules for validation, we can design processes that check the information against the rules. Then, the solution automatically forwards the messages back to the sender for correction.
7. Increase competitiveness
This is perhaps already straightforward from all the other benefits of data integration.
Having a data integration strategy in place can help you to plan what actions you need to take to improve the accessibility of data both externally and internally. Hence, you will be able to impact a lot of vital parts of your business. Yes, the overall goal is to generate more profit. An essential part of that is delighting your customers, so offering better services than your competition shouldn’t be overlooked.
iPaaS for data integration?
The cool thing about iPaaS is that often it is available as a fully managed service, which means it is not just a tool helping you with building integrations yourself but a service that helps you to avoid all the hassles associated with in-house integrations. Employing and managing integration talent, overcoming a challenge with the lack of specific skills and knowledge of data formats and protocols, purchasing a software license, and maintaining additional hardware are just a few examples of what you do not need to deal with in the case of leveraging fully managed iPaaS.
Youredi is precisely the company that provides its iPaaS as a fully managed service. Although its iPaaS is built with a focus on the integration needs of the logistics and global supply chain needs, it is so versatile that you can use it for other integration scenarios too. So, whether you are a stakeholder in the mentioned domain or not, it can support your organization’s integration strategy across all components.
If you are not sure, what iPaaS is, why you should use it, and what are its key capabilities, make sure you read our detailed post on the topic.
To learn more, you can also download our inside the iPaaS ebook, or contact us to schedule a demo call with our integration specialists.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Andrei Radchenko contributed to this story.