Quantifying the Value of Integration

Published by: Inesh Chari

Integration is a vital part of the growth of any business. It fosters collaboration and helps business processes run better by automating many critical tasks.

Data and API Integration

There are several types of integration, but the two important ones are Data integration and API (Application Programming Interface) integration. Data integration is when data from multiple different sources are connected to a single centralized or a virtual federated location e.g., a warehouse for data. It allows businesses to organize different types of data from different sources into a digital warehouse or a federated repository. This makes it easier to view, access, comprehend, and manage data. Data integration fosters collaboration and streamlines many business processes so that it is easier to get insights to grow the business. However, it must be able to handle large volumes and varieties of data.

API integration is a connection between two or more applications using their APIs. It also lets systems and applications exchange data with each other and allows large amounts of data to be transferred without any errors that would be seen in human transfers. API integration also enhances collaboration and boosts innovation.

These two forms of integration increase automation in business processes, reduce errors particularly in large complex data transfers, and make it easier for businesses to organize, view and share their data amongst employees and each other. So, businesses can save time, and boost efficiency and innovation.

The Value of Integration is Growing

Integration is becoming more widely used. Many businesses are implementing integration to their business processes to improve how they process and view data. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud Computing techniques are being used to make integration more effective and valuable, and to improve overall quality.

At Cabot Partners we understand the importance of integration and how vital it is to the growth of any business. Investing in the latest IT technologies such as Cloud Computing and AI helps automate business processes, increase integration maturity, and operate at a higher level of maturity.

Integration Maturity Model and Quality

We describe 3 levels of integration in the maturity model: Basic, Advanced, and Expert. Basic integration is the simplest with the lowest level of integration: there is little automation and no self-service capabilities. The next level is advanced. At this level, a business has some automation and self-service but it’s not 100 percent. The final level of integration is Expert, at this level a business is fully integrated. This means that this business has full self-service and is fully automated. At this level, business processes are all automated using the best technology available, so there are almost no manual processes needed.

As a business goes higher in the integration maturity level, its quality and value increases. The way that you can measure the quality is to look at the seven ISO 9001 quality principles: customer focus, leadership, employee engagement, process approach, continuous improvement, relationship management, and technology-enabled decisions/operations. These seven principles are critical to measure the quality of integration in a company. If the integration doesn’t help a business meet their customers’ expectations, improve leadership, and increase employee engagement then you can tell the integration implemented in the business is not of high quality. This is also the same for improving business processes and operations. If these two things are not better as result of integration, then the quality of is low. The ISO 9001 principles and model show what aspects you should look at when measuring the quality of integration in your business.

These techniques are used to measure the quality of IBM Cloud Pak for Integration. To learn more please download this paper.

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