Business Process and Integration
The corporate landscape of today includes a wide variety of heterogeneous business applications, each designed to solve a specific and specialised business problem. These applications are often not designed to work together seamlessly. This creates a major challenge when information needs to be extracted or combined for various purposes across the enterprise. The question then arises, “How do organisations extract relevant information and deliver it in the right format, to a destination either inside or outside of the organisation, across functional domains, at the right time?” This business challenge makes Business Integration a high priority.
As organisations and their interactions with customers and suppliers become increasingly complex, significant business value can be realised through the automation, standardisation, re-use and sharing of business processes. In addition, consolidation and integration of information systems is the key enabler for Business Process Management (BPM) which is an important business challenge for many organizations.These challenges are typically resolved through the deployment of a portfolio of integration practices and technologies. These technologies link integrated business processes across heterogeneous business applications creating an environment which functions as a single unified business system. This allows processes and data to be shared throughout the company and beyond, to include business partners, customers and employees. In effect, successful integration results in the creation of an Enterprise Nervous System, providing the required information when and where it is required.
Key benefits of an integrated enterprise include
1. Increased agility/faster response to change – A loosely-coupled integration architecture, where technology enables fluid processes, means IT systems are no longer cast in stone, enabling the business to react faster to change, and establish and sustain competitive advantage.
2. Reduced costs – Process and integration components can be reused elsewhere in the business, where similar processes are being duplicated. The cost of developing interfaces also reduces over time, which is a substantial component of project cost.
3. Increased efficiencies – The modelling and automation of business processes, together with the efficient movement of information within these processes, brings about visible and measurable process efficiency.
4. Improved customer service – Faster response to service requests and information requirements, means higher customer retention, faster new customer take-on, and less customer churn. A better informed and less frustrated customer could drive increased revenue.
5. Enhanced decision-making – Often information relevant to business and partner decision-makers is locked up in departmental or legacy silos. An effective integration platform can assist in moving this information across departmental and systems boundaries, to where it is required.
6. Efficient supply chain interaction – Information which suppliers require to fill orders, plan production and deliver efficiently, can be made available across multiple channels, as and when it is needed.
7. Improved return on technology investment – Better use can be made of investments in technology, by enabling infrastructure and data as an available business resource within a service-oriented architecture. Returns on legacy investments are thus extended.
8. Meet compliance and regulatory requirements – Integration can satisfy statutory requirements which often require information from various systems in prescribed formats, within specified periods and timeframes.
9. Improved Management Information – Enable management to make more informed decisions by making the information they require available in real-time, in a form that can be easily understood and acted upon in a collaborative way.