Aiming for Integration: Why We’re Not There Yet

by Emily on May 23, 2017

in Articles

The concept of integrated solutions has been around for several years now. It was very popular in 2012 and has continued to be the highlight of IT solutions ever since. In fact, integration was a hot jargon used by many IT companies’ marketing efforts at one point.

Unfortunately, integration is not really happening on the market; at least not at the level that everyone was expecting. Despite the obvious benefits of using an integrated IT solution, not many companies are willing to go the extra mile for proper integration. Why is this the case?

Barriers to Full Integration

Don’t get me wrong; solutions such as those developed by SAP and Oracle offer integration on many levels. Features covering different parts of a business’s operations can communicate with each other seamlessly. Other companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM are also putting forward integrated solutions designed specifically for businesses.

These solutions are not only very effective and efficient but are also very easy to implement. SAP Business One, for instance, granted small and medium enterprises access to the advanced business intelligence and enterprise resource planning features that used to be reserved for larger corporations.

There is, however, one important point to note about these integrated solutions: they are made by the same company. When multiple solutions are used to support different business functions, integration is suddenly limited. Solutions aren’t really talking to each other as fluidly as we might want to due to different standards, APIs, and other communication barriers.

Better Solutions of Tomorrow

Fortunately, the market is realising the real importance of having different solutions used to power business operations, integrated and automated. Businesses are going back to the drawing board and finding new ways to automate workflows within the company, starting with simple things such as data transfers between business apps.

It’s a small step, but it is a small step in the right direction nonetheless. SalesForce, for example, can now push data to other cloud-based solutions through simple API commands. At the same time, the platform can pull data from various sources for specific functions. Advanced programming is still needed, but the ecosystems we have today are more geared towards talking to each other.

It’s not just happening on the market too. The Heriot-Watt University recently updated its identity and access management system to a more modern one. The university is embracing integration by implementing NetIQ Identity Manager, an identity management system designed to integrate well with existing systems such as Student Record System, University Management Solution, and even HR.

Bridging the Gap

For businesses that are currently switching to the latest and greatest enterprise solutions, integration becomes a much more important focus of the project. For those who are already in the digital age, there are now solutions designed to bridge the communications gap between other solutions on the market.

Bridging the gap is not the perfect way to integrate multiple systems, but it is again a step in the right direction. Once data can be made interchangeable, businesses can start optimising their workflows for better integration. Future implementations should eliminate the existing gaps completely and integration will help businesses become more competitive in many ways.

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