We are often asked this question by the integration professionals with whom we speak. The question is not usually posed in the manner in which this Blog is titled, but something like the following...
"Based on the discussion of our EDI/integration tools, our ERP and other integration points, and our technical capabilities as an organization, where are we as compared to our peers?"
Other variants of this question include:
- Are we behind in our approach to integration and collaboration, and if so, by how much?
- Where are we in comparison to other firms using tools from software vendor X?
- Where are we in comparison to similarly sized firms?
- Where are we in comparison to other firms in our industry?
These are interesting benchmark questions from firms that approach integration and the operation of their business from a continuous improvement mindset. Folks asking these questions tend to view integration not as a "have to do", but from a differential advantage perspective. They want to be better than the next guy at integration and collaboration, and want to stay better.
These days advanced integration and collaboration capabilities are the "plumbing" that feed strategic big data, cognitive analytics, IOT and supply chain visibility initiatives. Some organizations are equipped (or are working to be) with an integration infrastructure that supports these projects, and many other firms are not so prepared.
There is a lot of modernization talk in the market place with these types of strategic projects and support for future initiatives being the usual drivers. These initiatives are about much more than a new EDI or managed file transfer environment, but an integration platform that is capable of brokering messages between any producing or consuming system inside or outside the firm with workflow to keep parties that "need to know" informed along the way.
To plan a path forward integrators, project sponsors, and the money folks will need to fully understand the present state, the desired state, and the enhanced capabilities of the organization once it arrives there to get full support. Let's face it these types of projects require very specific and supporting data in order to gain endorsement and budget.
To support your efforts REMEDI offers the asset below which provides some interesting statistics and information to help you move your B2B Integration forward. Also, in the coming weeks look for the release of our White Paper "Preparing Your Integration Infrastructure to Support Business Strategy", which will outline 5 levels of integration maturity for you to assess your current state and help you plan what's required to get to the next step in your organization's journey.