Integrations, at its most basic level, mean joining two or more systems together so that data is transferred between them automatically. In E-commerce this means automatically forwarding orders to your ERP system or updating your stock totals from your storage management system to your E-commerce product catalogue.
Without integrations, data input needs to be done manually and individually for each product or by manual file transfer. Worktime and costs can be cut tremendously, once these obsolete routines are automated by integrating various systems to communicate with each other. An added benefit to this is either reducing or removing human error altogether.
We’ve been helping companies streamline their day-to-day business with our integration skills for over 18 years.
The ecosystems of platform economy and the trends of digitalization have brought the focus on integrations when it comes to upholding competitiveness. It’s so important, that new platforms are being developed with the “API as a Product”-model, where the entire business idea is based on offering integration-ready interfaces to customers and their added value network.
The capability of different systems to integrate can vary greatly. Modern systems are developed with API-interfaces in mind, which enable their cost-effective use in different ecosystems and architectures. Older, end-of-life systems on the other hand might offer only limited integration capabilities. This means that data has to be fetched from databases using complex queries or requires the use of conversion software to handle transferred data.
Begin evaluating your own integration capability by figuring out, if the systems you use come with built-in interfaces and have readily available API-documentation.
The operating environment and the goals of the business dictate, which systems should be integrated with each other and what type of integration architecture warrants building. Building integrations is typically a requirement in order to scale digital business. Only a few years ago if might have been beneficial to seek out monolithic system structures that supported as many of the company’s core processes and the business itself. A system like this performs well in certain tasks but struggles in others. In the fast-paced environment of today’s business, the greatest benefits can be reaped by pinpointing core systems and integrating them with each other as a functional entity.
At its simplest, systems can be integrated with each other if they come with built-in interfaces that support each other. If this is the case, it’s as simple as your system administrator turning the integrations on and deciding which data to transfer from one system to the other. This is a point-to-point integration between two systems. If the systems don’t come with built-in integration capabilities or interfaces, they can usually be created relatively easily, provided that they have API-interfaces.
If you’re looking for something more advanced than point-to-point, one way of doing this is to implement your integrations on their own service layer on top of a centralized integration platform. Integration platforms enable joining several core systems to your architecture more flexibly and it makes replacing or updating systems considerably more convenient. An integration platform or a data integration layer manages routing and converting data between integrated systems.
A more lightweight option to producing your own integration platform could be utilizing iPaaS-cloud services (Integration Platform as a Service). Zapier is an example of such a system and supports hundreds of commonly used softwares. If you’re looking for an example of such a service from Finland, take a look at Flashnode.
Many of the added value services on a website can, depending on platform, be installed via plugins or by adding a simple code snippet from the page administrator panel.
Building integrations doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it have to be an arcane art and can sometimes be achieved with just a couple of clicks. Our integration experts will help you plan the goals of your business and help you choose the right integration solutions for you.
We’ve implemented integrations to several background systems and added value services. Here are some of the integrations we’re familiar in using and have done to our customers: