Technology

4 Ways Integration Platforms Can Drastically Improve Operations

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As customer preferences change, IT landscapes must be agile and reactive. Engagement with customers, partners, and employees has been transformed substantially by enterprise applications.

By combining technologies like SaaS, IoT, AI/ML, RPA, and big data, businesses can get the most value from their data and unlock new revenue streams, enabling them to innovate more quickly and serve their customers better.

However, the time it takes an existing IT platform to integrate with new cloud-based systems can slow the speed to market. To cope with market disruptions and changing demands, organizations must be prepared to integrate these cutting-edge technologies quickly.

A key element of addressing this issue is ensuring business integration is part of your IT strategy, but what are the benefits of integration platforms? 

We’ve consulted our associates from Tec5USA to answer precisely this question. But first, let’s briefly talk about what integration platforms are and why they matter in today’s business world.

[Source: Unsplash]

  1. What Are Integration Platforms and Why Are They Important?

Integration platforms are software (middleware) products that facilitate the following functions:

  • Automate API creation and lifecycle management to meet hybrid integration requirements.
  • Integrate, secure, and manage data flow between varied applications, systems, services, and data stores.

Essentially, an integration platform offers organizations the tools to integrate their systems, applications, data, and users across their environments.

There is much talk about integration platforms today — and for a good reason. Markets with high levels of competition demand faster, more cost-effective solutions that improve productivity, streamline operations, and accelerate information exchange.

Yet organizations do not have the capacity to create new integrations in response to the growing demand. 

By integrating on-premises and cloud-native applications and systems into a highly tuned and cohesive architecture of hardware and software, you can do the following and more:

  • Streamline business processes
  • Boost data management efficiency
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Improve scalability

Let’s explore each of these benefits in more detail.

[Source: Pixabay]

  1. Agility and Streamlined Business Processes

Integrating your business requires a modern, agile approach. By choosing the right integration platform, you can empower extended teams to create integrations, utilize and reuse capabilities, and increase productivity.

Flexible, agile, and well-integrated IT can provide organizations with a faster means of identifying opportunities and adjusting to disruptions. Thanks to new technologies, businesses can meet demand, identify opportunities, and innovate faster.

Nevertheless, these new technologies must be integrated with APIs if businesses are to take advantage of them.

With an API-led approach to delivering IT projects, you stay on time and budget with flexible and adaptable infrastructure. 

Connecting SaaS applications to each other and your internal systems will transform how your business works.

A drag-and-drop design environment, out-of-the-box connectors, and integration templates can make SaaS integration quick and easy as well as increase time-to-value. 

You can utilize API-led integration platforms to transform your customer experience, liberate resources so you can innovate more quickly, easily integrate IoT technologies, and improve business agility.

  1. Boost Data Management Efficiency and Increase Productivity

The principles of franchising can help an organization improve productivity. By building reusable assets packaged for self-service, franchisors can drive scale and innovation. When a McDonald’s opens a new location, it already has everything from store plans to billing and payment processes.

You can do this by adopting an API-led approach to integration. This approach gives your organization complete control of all assets and connections through a managed, modern API, discoverable through self-service.

Asset reusability and discovery allow you to change how your organization delivers projects and the speed at which they are delivered.

If organizations want to improve efficiency and cut costs across departments, they must re-engineer their processes and streamline operations. 

You can boost collaboration and productivity by automating processes, integrating services, and providing secure data exchange to employees, customers, and partners while capturing real-time data transmitted between systems.

By implementing this approach, you can identify opportunities and potential bottlenecks while saving a great deal of time and effort.

  1. Increase Customer Satisfaction

The key to creating great customer experiences is having a 360-degree view of each customer, reflecting all communications and activities the customer has had with your company. For a holistic view of the customer, several disparate systems — ERPs, CRMs, sales reporting — must be integrated.

Integrating disparate technologies and previous integrations to drive business innovation is possible with the most effective integration platforms. Integrating APIs from various systems can provide insights into what customers want and how products are used.

Utilize integrated systems and real-time data to target the right message to your customers at the right time, improving customer experiences, fostering loyalty, and improving retention.

[Source: Pixabay]

  1. Cut Costs and Plan for Future Growth

Modern organizations must be able to integrate the latest technologies and applications in a fast and efficient manner. 

Integration can help your organization deal with the unscaled adoption of new applications and IT and improve your team members’ ability to connect with customers. In this way, integration platforms can be viewed as both a strategic capability and a key business enabler.

You can be confident that you will be able to integrate new technologies as they become available with an API-led approach. Regardless, what matters is whether the integration solution is robust enough to keep up with today’s digitally mediated landscape for the long haul.

Key Benefits of a Complete Integration Solution

Integration platforms are traditionally built by connecting key capabilities across an organization. Vendors typically offer API management software, messaging capabilities, and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) solutions as part of these offerings.

This approach, however, can be costly and complex to initiate in-house, and it may not satisfy all of your needs. Feature or capability overlap between solutions from different vendors may occur, while other capabilities may not be covered.

A containerized, integrated integration platform combines all of the features you need. Moreover, it can help bridge the gap between different styles of integration.

Conclusion

There are very few companies that have only one engagement point with customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your blog, website, and online store are all ways to communicate with prospects. Therefore, getting a 360-degree view of the customer experience is essential for omnichannel businesses.

Combining data from all your customer contact points can allow you to see what increases customer satisfaction so that you can replicate it — and what leaves customers cold so that you can remove it.

Choosing which companies to shop with is heavily influenced by the level of customer service they provide. In the United States, 60% of consumers prefer to use digital self-service tools to get assistance or customer service. Therefore, your online tools must be connected to as much business-relevant data as possible.

Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for FindDigitalAgency.