Author

Alex Lawson

As all aspects of B2B commerce benefit from an increasingly rich feature set and ecosystems, the jump in complexity of exchanging data between IT systems has redefined the role that system integration plays in digital transformation.

Systems integration platforms have matured at a pace to allow businesses to leverage the best-in-class technology offerings and leave systems compatibility to a growing number of tools and technologies designed for the purpose. Gone are the days that you’d export a CSV file and import it into another application! 

Selecting the right integrations platform positions your business to adapt rapidly emerging technologies and tie these into your business operations with ease, reducing business dependency on single-vendor solutions and enabling your ability to utilise industry-leading systems to become a market leader. Integrating your systems means avoiding time-consuming data entry, human errors, and double-handling.

Systems integrations can be set up in a number of ways. Direct web services, exchange of flat files, or middleware. Middleware is a smart way of future-proofing. Balance Internet has developed some middleware software we affectionately call Dabus (short for Data Bus) to handle the more complex integrations.

These platforms are often on legacy infrastructures that don’t have the API or web service interface we need. With eCommerce it’s important to give the customer real-time accuracy — quickly and reliably. 

Improving the customer experience often requires more integrations. If you want to offer your customer shopping cart customisations or other custom features, it will require plug-ins and modules to the existing eCommerce framework.

Integration might not sound like the most flashy exciting feature of an eCommerce site, but our clients have found investing in it means improving their data quality and productivity: freeing up time for the flashy!

Here are our Three Key Systems Questions to Answer:

  • How is your systems integration platform designed?

Implemented incorrectly, you’ll see increasing costs for systems integration with every technology you onboard into your transformation as complexity between each of the system interfaces skyrockets.

  • What are my dependencies?

Ensure that your roadmap includes the dependencies between software and system integrations to meet project timelines

  • How will I verify this?

Systems integration includes unique challenges in testing, requiring access to many third-party systems spread across a number of in house or third-party contacts. End-to-end testing is essential and requires you to have test versions of your systems ready to go. Don’t forget to factor this into your costs and timelines.

 

Download our whitepaper ‘How to Succeed at Digital Transformation in B2B eCommerce’ here download the whitepaper, to read the full ‘Systems Integration’ Chapter.

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