The suitable integration platform for your company and your customers
Information security and data protection are key issues
Not only have customers’ expectations of their providers’ services increased, but environmental influences, which require a greater customer focus and the associated shorter time-to-market, also make it necessary for companies to react ever more flexibly to changes. In addition, at a time when information security and data protection are becoming increasingly important, it is essential to protect one’s own business processes and the data processed in them as securely as possible against unauthorised access. An integration platform provides the solution to many of these challenges.
It can effectively connect data and applications to increase efficiency, improve responsiveness and thus offer a competitive advantage. IT landscapes with complex, poorly networked systems and applications, on the other hand, often represent an obstacle in this context, as their adaptability and scalability are very low.
Integration platform: A definition
But what does an integration platform actually mean? An integration platform is a software solution that enables seamless connection and communication between different components, applications, systems and data sources. It serves as a central interface for collecting, integrating, transforming and exchanging information from different sources.
The main task of an integration platform is to overcome the heterogeneity of data formats, protocols and different technologies. It offers a comprehensive range of tools and functions to harmonise data.
Integration platforms in enterprise architecture management
Ultimately, an integration platform plays a decisive role in modern enterprise architecture management. It is the centrepiece from which all services and applications can be controlled, maintained and exchanged.
The importance of integration platforms lies primarily in the fact that they help companies to manage the complexity of their IT landscape and enable seamless integration and networking of their systems. By using an integration platform, companies can improve interoperable communication between their systems and thus exchange data seamlessly. This enables them to optimise operational processes and workflows, increase efficiency and make better business decisions based on up-to-date and consistent data.
This also makes a significant contribution to improving the quality and consistency of data. By centralising the collection, transformation and validation of data, companies can ensure that all systems have access to up-to-date and error-free data and applications and that data loss can be avoided.
Advantages of an integration platform
There are many examples of the advantages of integration platforms. Here are just a few:
- Simplifying the integration of applications and data
- Reduction of complexity and pre-processing of data
- Increased transparency and visibility of data flows
- Reduction of integration costs and time
- Increasing the scalability of the IT landscape
- Improving the efficiency and speed of business processes
- Increasing the possibility of automating many business processes
- Flexibility for rapid adaptation to changing business requirements
- Better integration of cloud and on-premise solutions
- Increased security through centralised control and monitoring of data exchange processes
- Improving data quality and consistency
- Reduction of time and costs for maintenance and development of interfaces
Choosing the right integration platform / solution
When choosing an integration platform/solution, companies should consider a number of things to ensure that it meets their requirements. Above all, the requirements and functionalities should take centre stage. Which features do the individual stakeholders need, which data formats, interfaces, transaction capability, etc. are involved? It is important to get all specialist departments on board right from the start.
The chosen solution should be flexible and scalable to ensure the easy integration of additional systems and applications. It should also be cloud-capable to further increase scalability and flexibility.
The security of company data and systems should also be a top priority. Accordingly, the platform should have sufficient security mechanisms in place to protect the data from unauthorised access and threats. Compliance requirements also play a major role here.
Last but not least, user-friendliness plays a major role for users in the company. This should always take centre stage when integrating a new solution.
Combination of different integration solutions
Often, a combination of different approaches to implementation can deliver better success than committing to one approach.
By using microservices, individual components of the solution can be scaled independently of each other and are very flexible. The combination of approaches also makes it possible to quickly drive forward the development and provision of new functions and services. In this way, the use of third-party providers offers the opportunity to fall back on proven solutions and save time and development effort.
Microservices can be developed, provided and scaled independently of each other, which enables efficient utilisation of resources. API interfaces also facilitate integration with other systems and services, both internally and externally. By distributing functionality across microservices, failures in individual components can also be isolated and rectified without affecting the entire solution.
The implementation of a solution can be both cloud-based and on-premise.
Application example: Integration along the customer life cycle
Especially for companies that offer their services and products online, an integration platform tailored to the needs of customers is a good way to improve the customer experience and thus increase their satisfaction. As a first step, it is particularly important to take a look at the customer life cycle and all of the steps required to optimise the customer experience. This is because covering all customer-related business processes with the help of a single platform solves several problems at once. On the one hand, the services and products are accessible via a “front door”, and on the other, the processes are easier to customise.
In our case, we are looking at the property universe with its various service areas.
Step 1: Integration of all external and internal stakeholders
In this case, it is important that by analysing the needs of all users and partners involved a system is created that meets everyone where they are. In the case of a property platform, both external and internal stakeholders must be taken into account, each of whom has a different view of the application.
Step 2: Automation of processes along the value chain
After analysing all of the stakeholders’ needs, it is possible to break down very precisely which service they require at each step of their customer journey. The integration platform with a front end to the customer is a best practice example of customer centricity.
Step 3: Initial situation IT infrastructure and IT systems
Companies often still struggle with data silos or disconnected applications. On the one hand, this prevents a smooth process, there is a risk of data loss and security gaps, and on the other hand, it is not possible to guarantee a satisfactory customer experience.
Step 4: Combination solution for integrating systems
The solution to this problem is obvious: with the help of microservices, applications can be replaced step by step and connected to the front end via API interfaces if a service or process needs to be customised. This significantly shortens time-to-market cycles, allowing the company to react flexibly to new challenges.
This is also in line with the principles of agility, which provides for an incremental approach and continuous adaptation of services in the interests of a high level of customer centricity and further contributes to ensuring a company’s competitiveness. In addition, the automation of many processes and the high scalability of the application make it possible to utilise the resources freed up to expand business activities, for example by entering markets in other countries and adding further services to the range, and to generate more revenue.
Enterprise architecture with an integration platform for greater customer satisfaction
The example of the real estate platform along the customer life cycle has made it very clear that it makes sense to take a closer look at your own IT landscape in order to find a better solution if necessary. It can also be valuable to take a closer look at which platform actually suits the company in order to use the technologies and developments that are best suited to its own business processes and thus possibly even play a pioneering role in terms of customer centricity on the market.