Balancing old and new technologies the key integration challenge for most organisations

(Image credit: Image Credit: Bbernard / Shutterstock)

Today’s business demands mean organisations must cost-effectively integrate legacy systems with modern cloud services and SaaS applications without disruption. A new report illustrates just how ineffective traditional approaches have been at balancing technologies old and new.

Integration technology is one of the biggest challenges keeping organisations from improving relationships with trading partners, suppliers and customers and gaining new revenue, according to the 2019 State of Ecosystem and Integration Application Report.

The newly published report compiles data based on a digital survey from Cleo, a global provider of ecosystem integration solutions, asked IT decision-makers across industries their most pressing integration challenges, their IT needs and the barriers to achieving business goals.

The consensus from survey respondents was that they lacked the modern capabilities required to improve their ecosystem relationships and enhance strategic business outcomes. That’s because many of their integration solutions – the bulk of which are homegrown or are heavily customised – are costly to maintain, require specific skill sets, and are prone to errors. Such cumbersome integration processes, they add, leads to a lack of reliability and business agility, which jeopardises current B2B relationships as well as new revenue opportunities.

Some notable takeaways from the report:

  • Poor integration is costly, with unreliable partner and application integrations costing companies $500,000 every year.
  • Partner and application onboarding processes are cumbersome, with 63 per cent saying customised partner requirements delay new-business onboarding.
  • Digitisation initiatives are hampered by legacy IT and integration issues, but nearly half (48 per cent) admit that modernisation is one of the enterprise’s biggest challenges.
  • Comprehensive data integration is the goal, with 60 per cent believing end-to-end data visibility is an important requirement for managing digital ecosystems.
  • IT leaders must proactively address integration to support their evolving business ecosystems, but 29 per cent lack the skilled resources to build and manage these integrations.

And while almost every surveyed company (95 per cent) said it maintains ecosystem integration aspirations – connecting all B2B and applicational data flows for comprehensive business visibility – 38 per cent say they have little confidence in their ability to scale to support those goals.

The need to balance old, new technologies

According to the report, new business demands brought on by forces outside the company are putting immense pressure on organisations and technologies to leverage more flexible integration solutions, something that Georgia-based nVision Global Technology Solutions understands all too well.

As a leading global freight audit and payment provider and a provider of SaaS-based supply chain and logistics management solutions, nVision processes 100 million EDI documents from 18,500 transportation providers every year. Such a sprawling business ecosystem fosters an even more sprawling, complex integration environment, according to nVision Founder and CEO Luther Brown.

“We work with tens of thousands of transportation providers and must support whatever industry-standard protocols and custom file formats our customers – and their customers – demand,” said Luther Brown, nVision’s founder and CEO. “A patchwork of disparate, outdated solutions made onboarding new business incredibly difficult, and the inability to efficiently integrate was keeping us from serving our global customers the way an innovative SaaS technology provider should.”

Many organisations in the market report echoed these same sentiments and understand the limitations and the high cost of maintaining legacy technologies, but they also recognise these systems’ importance to their day-to-day operations. It’s become a balancing act of old and new technologies, and it’s why businesses are facing an unprecedented need for flexible integration, comprehensive security and governance mechanisms, and agility to support the B2B processes that ultimately drive revenue.

How to address emerging integration challenges

Overall, the survey respondents understand that supporting new and emerging digital patterns requires a modern approach to integration, one that supports end-to-end B2B, cloud and application integration use cases. That mind-set is especially critical given that 90 per cent said they plan to migrate core integration capabilities to the cloud within a year.

Brown’s advice for how nVision decided to solve its integration challenges: Look beyond single-purpose integration toolkits, which might have strong EDI or API integration capabilities but limited flexibility in addressing multiple use cases simultaneously.

“Those approaches have a relatively short shelf life,” he said. “Investing in a single-platform ecosystem integration solution that flexibly supports data movement and data transformation capabilities will simplify and streamline ALL integration use cases.   

“That’s how businesses consolidate technologies, automate data transaction processes and gain visibility into the end-to-end data flows that shorten time to revenue and help proactively manage the business.”

To read the full report, visit Cleo’s website.

Tushar Patel, Chief Marketing Officer, Cleo
Image Credit: Bbernard / Shutterstock