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The relentless pace of technology innovation has transformed the way we approach ‘business as usual’. Increasingly, organisations are adapting to the digital revolution, seeking to replace outdated solutions with cloud-based, technology enriched ones.
While this shift has meant more efficient data exchanges for B2B companies, it hasn’t been without its headaches. Digital transformation projects are not immune to risk, with integration issues topping the list of threats to a business’ success. A 2022 study looking at the state of digital transformation shows that most believe integration is slowing and even hindering their organisation’s digitalisation. Whether in the cost, setup or management of integrations, the IT managers surveyed agree that it is placing undue burden on their teams, and progress is slow.
The research confirms what we at Crossfire know to be true: a successful digital transformation needs successful integration.
More and more, businesses are electing to adopt a fully-managed integration solution, opposed to a simple managed integration service, to ensure the success of their digital transformation.
Whether you’re a high-volume business looking to outsource complexity or a small business without the in-house knowledge or technical expertise needed, fully-managed integration paves the way for a seamless experience from setup through to deployment and monitoring, eliminating disruptions to your business as usual.
Here are three key differentiators between a simple managed integration service and one that is fully managed.
1. Partner onboarding
Onboarding partners is often a complex process, involving the facilitation of, and communication between, the involved parties. Essentially, integration’s role is to connect different businesses, with their different systems, different rules and different processes end-to-end. Often, the data requires complex mapping to ensure that the transfer of information between the two works as expected.
With a fully-managed integration service, partner onboarding is taken care of for you. The provider will obtain the necessary information and documentation from all partners, plotting and connecting data from one to the other. No matter how the information is sent (e.g., spreadsheet, email, PDF or well-formed EDI message), a fully-managed service will work directly with trading partners in order to ensure information is converted into a compatible format.
Instead of using a simple managed integration service, where the onus is on the business to conduct the mapping and testing, a fully-managed service is responsible for bridging the gap. Not only is the process of partner onboarding simplified, and the speed at which it is completed expedited, but you also outsource complexity, allowing a trusted team of experts to take care of the details for you.
2. Monitoring and Maintenance
Beyond partner onboarding, a fully-managed service also provides the necessary hosting and 24/7 monitoring to ensure a stable, accurate and reliable flow of data.
A top of the line, fully-managed service will implement rules around the volume of messages, data errors and more that trigger a notification to be sent directly to the integration support team. In these cases, it’s often not the integration that fails, but rather errors that surface, such as incorrect product codes in the system. Monitoring these exchanges means that potential and actual problems are identified and resolved before they’re able to harm your business operations and ability to trade.
Maintenance is another key part of a fully-managed integration service in that it ensures ongoing compatibility and reliability. This may involve installing updates, bug fixes and other behind the scenes changes to keep things running smoothly.
Integration is a business-critical process. When it’s not working as expected, a fully-managed integration service ensures that the necessary support is in place to identify and resolve issues that arise.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of a fully-managed integration service is the support that comes with. Integration is a complex process that requires specialised knowledge. Often, in-house IT teams lack the bandwidth or expertise to implement, customise, host, and monitor a business’ integration end-to-end.
Having a dedicated support team as a part of a fully-managed service means that a business’ unpredictability is accounted for within the delivery of integration. Examples of challenges that we’ve seen firsthand include changes to partner data standards, third party API updates, and system overhauls.
The beauty of a full-managed service like Crossfire’s is that it is a partnership. As the business’ needs grow and change, the integration is able to flex and adapt also. With an intimate knowledge of your business, a fully-managed service is able to provide a solution that aligns with your needs.
In many cases, integration issues can be identified and addressed without the need for client involvement. This provides peace of mind while freeing up valuable internal resources so that you can focus on your core business.
The case for a fully-managed integration service is clear. With a dedicated team facilitating partner onboarding, providing ongoing maintenance and monitoring, and delivering tailored support, your integration service provider is more than just another vendor.
At Crossfire, we partner with businesses to build and deploy integration solutions that work with existing ecosystems and support your digital transformation. Opting for an end-to-end service outsources integration complexity through tailored solutions that guarantee data flow. In short, we do integration so you can keep innovating.
If you’re considering integration for your business, or looking to draw upon industry expertise, go beyond simple. Talk to us today about how our fully-managed integration service ensures you keep up with the pace of digital transformation.