Why is data integration important?
I think we’ve all experienced the trauma of lost post from a house move or a miswritten address. Long is the process getting your parcel redirected and it’s doubly painful if its ever an invoice or tax letter (with the hidden escalation of requests for payment, and even Court judgments and bailiffs if the victim is particularly unlucky).
This gives a perspective on the business-critical world of B2B data integrations. Timely, secure and complete data sharing, in the correct form, is exactly how businesses coordinate to fulfil their mutual obligations (and comply with increasing tough SLAs) and ultimately enable our economies to run efficiently and at high speed.
Secure B2B data sharing
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear businesses must rush to ensure business as usual operations, despite unprecedented disruption and supply shock. No longer a short-term or one off occurrence, the case for businesses to automate and secure B2B data sharing has never been stronger.
B2B data integration touches all industries but with a range of consequences should data be lost, breached or delays – well reported in the media, it doesn’t take much imagination to guess the pain from incomplete bank reconciliations, delays in hospital records sharing, gaps in the goods-in/goods-out/stock ledgers for large distribution businesses and their supply chain partners or even citizens’ private data escaping to the dark web.
Enterprises have any number of systems and databases - ERP, PIM, Procurement, CRM, etc.- and many stakeholders, internal and external with different security environments, that require/request access. The complexity of providing this scales quickly – simply put as businesses grow so does the challenge to keep track of and utilise the information available in an optimal way.
Most software is specialised for a certain task rather than gathering, sharing or exposing data, System integration tools provide the means to manage and automate internal business processes and external partners e.g. for the seamless integration of external partner to your procurement, Procurement to ERP, ERP to payment processors, etc.
Seldom in IT procurement, licensing and maintenance budgeting does B2B get the attention it deserves. Often it’s simply overlooked as if non-core until such time as various issues manifest (sometimes with SLA breaches and penalties, sometimes with regulator fines!).
We invite CTOs and CIOs to adopt best practice and avoid this.
- Plan the needs of today but also tomorrow – any solution should be resilient and scale to meet future data demands (forecasting for at least 2 years hence)
- Ensure buy-in for your solution for current and future partners, and that it will be maintained/upgraded accordingly
- Pick a solution that flexibly allows connectivity and cooperation with all the different software systems of the enterprise, adopting necessary communication standards from APIs to cloud integration and managed file transfer possibilities
TIS can confidently state IBM meets these bars and more as the industry leader in this field with thanks to the IBM Sterling portfolio. The portfolio allows for cutting edge B2B and MFT (Managed File Transfer) solutions to create leading edge performance and security, tailored to each client relationships, executed on prem or in the cloud.
We are proud at TIS to have deployed IBM B2B Integrator, Sterling File Gateway and Connect: Direct for countless clients in financial services, distribution and wider industry.
Interested in making sure your crucial data is gathered, processed and exchanged securely, on-time and in-full with your partners?
Author: Daniel Van Schepdael