It’s been almost two decades since Ethan Hunt and the IMF team chose to accept the mission delivered on a self-destructing voicemail. Five explosive, nail-biting movies later, they’re still thrilling us with mind-boggling feats of impossible proportions. Whether it be infiltrating CIA headquarters through sensor-studded elevator shafts or taking out a villain’s helicopter with explosive chewing gum, the Impossible Missions Force manages to succeed at every burning-fuse challenge thrown at them. One mission they have yet to succeed at, though, is the seemingly impossible task of integrating business applications between companies.
Automating the process of sharing data between applications is already very complex even within a company’s four walls. Whether a business is trying to keep data consistent between independent applications, orchestrate business processes together, or build custom applications that leverage capabilities from independent applications, there are technical and business challenges related to data access, transformation, movement, cleansing, validation, governance, security, process automation, exception-handling, visibility, and collaboration. Just to name a few.
However, when you need to make application integration happen within a B2B context with customers and partners, you can really start to feel that it is a Mission Impossible. Here are a few challenges that become much more difficult to manage when performing B2B application integration:
Throughout design, development, testing, implementation and operations, there is a greater potential for miscommunication and project delays given the differences in requirements, priorities, timelines, skill levels, and resources between companies and departments.
When some of the data you’re working with exists within another company, it’s pretty obvious that you’re not going to be able to monitor every step in the process (even though it’s crucial that you do!)
In many cases, companies won’t give you access to their data sources and/or applications at all. If they do, considerations related to data permissions, ownership, and security are highly difficult to manage.
When an error or exception occurs where the primary stakeholder is located within the other company, you need to automatically contact that individual and provide external access to fix the problem and restart the automation. Needless to say, when everything hinges on an individual, your processes and time-to-market are out of your control and revolve around that person’s schedule.
If an unexpected event occurs during processing and a server goes down, for example, you’ve got to automatically check process flows that were interrupted and recover these transactions from the point of failure.
Despite these magnified challenges, B2B application integration can be accomplished. How? Find an innovative solution that would take all these difficulties into account. Use enterprise-class integration software that would allow IT to publish shared pre-configured connections and then hand over the reins to business users to perform the actual integration operations.
With the right B2B Application Integration solution, you will be able to easily say, “Mission Impossible — accomplished!”
For further reading on B2B Integration, check out:
Don’t Forget B2B Data Visualization When Choosing B2B Integration Software
5 Pieces Of Trading Partner Management Advice You’ll Thank Us For Later
Coroners Say Cause of Death Was Choosing The Wrong EDI Integration Solution