The benefits of using a data integration solution are quite clear, it helps in augmenting the orchestration of processes and improving outcomes. The right solution aligns people, processes, and technologies with the business objectives and optimizes them.
The difficult part is finding the right solution in a market where there are several new entrants as well as technological behemoths. Some solutions are cloud-based, others are on-premise.
Some data integration solutions require IT & technology expertise, others offer self-service integration. There will be several things that will require a reckoning.
To simplify this part, you need to closely evaluate the features offered by an integration vendor. For your reference, I have unfastened the parts that make a good data integration solution:
Features Which Must be There in a Data Integration Solution
Citizen Integration: A modern day data integration software should offer robust citizen integration capabilities to enable business users to build workflows for data governance & management. This allows business analysts and non-technical staff to do ad hoc process changes and create technical assets without engineering resources involved.
Partner Integration: You can reach overarching business benefits with a data integration solution that streamlines partner data exchange in an adaptive way. The tool should scale to connect back office systems with supplier ecosystem where several business applications, components, and protocols run in parallel. A dynamic integration tool streamlines collaboration occurring inside and outside the enterprise in a structured sequence of steps.
Triggers for Change Management Initiatives: An intelligent Integration software supports the change management and digital transformation initiatives. It focuses on areas like data timeliness, contextual granularity, actionability, extensibility, and optimization. It allows cloud and onpremise processes to work in tandem and reshape themselves. It also standardizes activity flows, and eliminates multiple sources of truth.
Centralized Interface: IT complexity is one of the biggest challenges which face today’s organizations. To break out of silos, you will need a centralized interface which helps organizations to monitor processes, critical workloads, and detect exceptions. This helps in finding and executing particular process instances with agility. You can react faster to downtimes and drive improvements with specific design patterns.
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM): You should look out for key performance indicators (KPIs) to support business intelligence purposes. Some of the functionalities are BAM display information, dashboards, notifications, automatic responses, etc. A next generation integration tool allows users to track processes in real time and achieve strategic business objectives.
Custom Templates: An end-to-end integration platform includes adapters or templates to enable interoperation with external application services, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) packaged applications, SaaS based applications and their databases. This capability leverages middleware technologies such as HTTP, SOAP, WSDL, JMS, etc.
Any-to-Any Integration: The ability to bring data from any source defines winning or losing in the digital world. That’s why, an integration tool should allow users to bring data from a variety of sources like smartphones, applications, tablets, digital devices, etc. This unique capability helps business partners to execute work in simple steps, be easier to work with, and improve time to revenue.
Process Improvement Tools: The checklist cannot be complete without process improvement. You should look for a solution that also enables continuous process improvement methodologies like lean and Six Sigma. Companies in financial services, healthcare and telecommunications can leverage these tools and significantly improve products and services as per customer needs.
Ensure that these elements have been factored in the data integration software which you are purchasing. These elements will help you make a strategically wise investment and achieve continued success.