Modern companies can find many and varied uses for data. It can be important in the cloud, in on-premise customer relationship management applications and in billing processes, to name a few. It needs to move quickly between partners and could be requested in one of several formats. According to TechTarget, this has led to a focus on the business integration middleware that makes transitions possible. New options are emerging in this field, according to the source, including always-on applications rooted in the cloud.
Integrators take center stage
The source noted that one of the primary challenges facing data managers at large firms is the piecemeal nature of cloud deployments. Some IT systems are available through a Software-as-a-Service model, hosted in the cloud, and others remain resolutely on-premise. This is not an insurmountable difficulty, but it calls for a new approach to integration.
One of the best ways to pick a business integration system, according to the source, is to focus on the fact that things could go wrong and select the program with the best performance in the event of a crash. Downtime and server trouble are inescapable parts of IT, so finding an integrator that will help recover instead of simply shutting down can help significantly.
"The connector should do a good job at telling you, 'Here's why I failed to send the message, here's the message I got back from the application and here's what we suggest you do to go about fixing it,'" software expert Rick Nucci told the source.
Industry insiders also told TechTarget that an ideal integration program comes from a trusted vendor with a strong record in the industry. Because an integration process is an ongoing, long-term concern, companies with longevity that make users confident they will still be available for service and upgrades in the future make for optimal partners.
Sometimes, integration must cross from one trading partner to another, with companies checking up on vital processes. According to Logistics Viewpoints contributor Chris Jones, large and advanced firms must sometimes gain visibility into the processes of smaller companies that do not have sufficient IT infrastructures. In these cases, he suggested extending a B2B integration network's capabilities and offering a portal through which the small partner can supply data to the main system. In some cases, this could be almost as efficient as both firms having network connectivity.