Business integration is the digital strategy a company adopts to automate, integrate and optimise business processes that link them with customers, suppliers, logistics providers and more, as well as the technical implementation of these processes via an integration solution or platform.
In the past, Business or B2B Integration used to be mainly traditional EDI, which meant automating the exchange of key business documents like orders and invoices through data integration instead of manual processes between a company and its trading partners.
These days, with business relations becoming more and more complex, it goes far beyond the mere exchange of business documents. In a modern supply chain where a large number of trading partners rely on each other, business integration comprises all kinds of data.
Business Integration is now more than connecting two businesses’ computer systems and exchange documents. It encompasses the entire digital ecosystem of a company and standardises and automates communication with trading partners and customers. This can include companies giving their trading partner access to their digital ecosystems to streamline the exchange of data.
New business processes require sharing information quickly and effectively between all parties involved in the supply chain ecosystem in order to speed up processes, meet their goals, increase profitability and ultimately optimise customer experience. In the car industry, for example, manufacturers usually depend on suppliers to provide up to 85% of car parts. With modern cars being more and more connected, manufacturers require a new range of trading partners for the provision of electronics and technologies for smart vehicles, so the exchange of crucial data is key.
Information is extracted from a source application, for example a company’s ERP system.
The business integration solution converts it into a standardised data format that the trading partner’s system can process, and transmits it to the external business partner’s target application.
Both trading partners agree on a protocol - such as SFTP, AS2, OFTP2 or HTTPs – to make data exchange possible. As these protocols are often mandated by large organisations or industries it is important that the business integration solution supports all types of protocols.
Once the data has been delivered to the target application, it is processed and integrated into the trading partner’s system.
In addition to these traditional EDI documents, today’s business integration solutions offer further features to improve business processes, such as BPM and analytics tools, or supply chain monitoring applications like edpem.
✅ Cost reduction
First of all, the elimination of manual handling of documents, the reduction of human error and repeated workflows save costs.
Consolidating solutions to a single, easy-to-use platform saves maintenance cost and improves operational efficiency, which enables a company to allocate money and resources toward core business services.
✅ Better communication
Updated information can be shared easily if every business in the supply chain has access to the relevant data and does not have to request information and wait for a response. Instead of checking on the progress of an order via phone or email, the acknowledgement is sent automatically.
✅ Increased security
It is difficult to maintain a similar security level on several different systems. In an integrated system security protocols and additional levels of protection can be implemented more easily, thus limiting the risk of harmful cyberattacks.
A large number of different integrations can lead to a complex environment that is difficult to manage. If processes and automated workflows are similar across the whole digital ecosystem workforce can focus on core business tasks.
✅ Increased transparency / visibility
A centralised business integration platform with end-to-end visibility allows businesses to view the entire life cycle of any kind of data. They can track, monitor, and manage data and processes across multiple systems, cloud services, and SaaS applications, which reduces response time.
✅ Improved collaboration and trading partner enablement
Business integration also enhances collaboration within a trading partner community and encourages innovation. Trading partners are on-boarded easily, can share business information and collaborate across all operations, from product development to supply chain management or marketing and sales.
Business integration solutions provide a competitive advantage in the digital age, from reducing time and costs associated with manual processing to eliminating human errors, improving data quality, increasing productivity, gaining supply chain visibility, and enhancing collaboration with your entire trading partner community.
Please contact us to find out more about the ideal solution for your business.