As organizations around the world continue to deal with COVID-19 and prepare themselves for potential future waves, a clear pattern has emerged: The rate of digitalization is speeding up.
The reason for this development lies in the need for increased resilience in our business operations – including the supply chain. Companies that have embraced digital technologies stand a much better chance at surviving during the current crisis and beyond.
As a key enabler for digital transformation, managed services for enterprise integration help organizations digitalize their business operations and improve their resilience in three ways.
1. Process automation and visibility
The main function of enterprise integration solutions – whether managed service or in-house – is to automate and speed up tasks like moving data from one system to another . When done using a centralized integration platform like OpenText™ Trading Grid™, integrations not only automate processes but also drastically improve their governance and visibility.
So, in case of a disruption in any of the connected processes, the organization will know about it immediately, can pinpoint which systems or trading partners are impacted and can begin corrective measures without delay. Organizations can also predict potential future disruptions and their probable impact by leveraging trends and insights accumulated from the integrated data over time.
Both the agility in reacting to disruptions and the ability to predict them increase resilience of business operations by offering tools to mitigate the impact of disruptions.
2. Scalability of technology and people
Cloud computing has helped us move towards an always-on economy where businesses no longer have to worry about managing servers in their own data centers or office locations. All cloud integration platforms offer this benefit, but in contrast to cloud platforms that are used by in-house integration developers, managed services include the people and processes needed for building and maintaining integrations.
While managed services providers must manage the same risks around specific office locations being disrupted as individual organizations, their scale of operations usually enables much better continuity planning. Having large integration developer teams spread across various countries and offices, and serving thousands of organizations, enables managed services providers to ensure continuous availability of integration resources that few organizations can match by themselves.
Managed services help organizations by reducing the need to manage both physical integration infrastructure and integration teams that are tied to specific locations. In times of disruption, such as the present pandemic, this removes many risks around business continuity for organizations and thereby increases their resilience.
3. Financial resilience
As we saw in the spring, sudden disruption of cash flows is one of the biggest risks to business continuity for most organizations. Integrations can offer some relief by speeding up invoice delivery and processing, for example, but their main benefit is delivering cost-efficiency and productivity across the business.
Cloud platforms help companies avoid major capital investments like hardware and software purchases through their subscription-based pricing models and often offer lower overall solution costs. Managed services further extend cost-efficiency by enabling on-demand resourcing of skilled integration experts as opposed to having these skills on active payroll.
Combined with improving the speed and efficiency of business processes, the cost-efficiency delivered by managed services approach to integration helps companies improve their financial health, cost structure and resilience, putting them in a better position to deal with adversities.
Understanding your integration costs helps build resilience
Managing integration operations cost-efficiently is a key enabler of building financial resilience. OpenText recently collaborated with Hobson & Company to create a model for evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of enterprise integration solutions and co-authored a white paper that explores the key dynamics and cost elements involved. One of the main findings in the paper is that the majority of overall integration costs is spent on the work effort that goes into integration development. This enables managed services to deliver considerable cost savings compared to in-house integration delivery.
Organizations have specific requirements and operate at different levels of maturity when it comes to enterprise integration. However, they all share the fact that integration is not just about technology, but also about how that technology is used, which skills are needed, how processes are governed, and so on. A holistic understanding of managing integration operations and optimizing the costs involved can drastically improve cost-efficiency – which in turn makes the organization more resilient.
The path forward is built on a digital foundation
We still don’t have a clear picture of what the future holds for us and what the path to recovery will ultimately look like. What we do know is that there is no going back to how things were–the only way is forward. For most organizations this means that long-term business resilience is built on digital technologies and business models they enable. These are no longer a nice-to-have, they are the new normal.
In the digital world that is now arriving much faster than expected, the ability to integrate the increasingly diverse technologies across business ecosystems is a critical capability–and managed services offer a great alternative for building and supporting it.
Read our white paper “Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership of Enterprise Integration Solutions” to find more about building resilience into your integration operations in a cost-effective way.