For quite long, companies have relied on traditional customer data integration solutions to integrate or consolidate information to achieve a single version of the truth of customer data. In many of these solutions, business people, not digitized processes, monitor customer data across myriad channels and maintain that humongous information in spreadsheets or rudimentary databases. Handling and managing these manually-driven databases often become extremely difficult, which hinders growth and innovation. And since it impacts the way companies do business with their customers, organizations struggle badly to create customer delight and satisfaction.
In more evolved business ecosystems, companies rely on their IT teams to develop EDI or API-based mechanisms to enable data exchange and data integration between myriad channels. While in the beginning, they are able to drive the processes, soon they are challenged by the huge volume involved and its lack of visibility to business people. It becomes extremely difficult for the IT teams to interpret the customer data and establish a strong relationship with them. This happens primarily due to the fragility of the data exchange’s architecture. As a result, it becomes difficult for organizations to manage these systems, making them difficult to do business with. This also degrades data quality, posing even a much bigger challenge for IT. The unnecessary burden placed on the IT teams inhibits them from focusing on more high-value tasks, impacting their productivity negatively.
Some of the main problems that these systems pose on organizations are:
EDI, API-based mechanisms can interfere with the way organizations do business and provide value to their end-consumers.
Self-service integration solutions can transfer the power of executing integrations into the hands of users (non-technical and technical business users), thereby enabling organizations deliver value faster to customers. In the business scenarios, where IT departments are swamped by non-core requests from Lines of Business (LoBs), this can proffer much-needed breathing space. By turning normal users into citizen integrators, companies can reduce the burden on the IT teams, enabling them focus on more important tasks. Not only that, these solutions offer an end-to-end encrypted environment that does not allow unauthorized access, thereby safeguarding the integrity of data and ultimately analysis.
However, unfortunately, in some instances, enabling self-service can set off the alarm bells. The citizen integrators are creating jerry-rigged solutions over which IT has no visibility or control, fostering a plethora of problems. So, it is advised that IT and enterprise must find ways to automate the integration and empower citizen integrators – but with a healthy degree of oversight.
Incorporating self-service integration in a company’s existing systems can help all business people handle customer data to deliver value without sacrificing speed and precision.