Tech Content
8 minutes

The process of combining many systems, platforms, and applications so that they operate in unison is known as integration. Integration is more crucial than ever in today's business world since organizations use an increasing number of tools and technology to run their operations. Businesses may improve efficiency and production, data accuracy and reliability, cooperation and communication, and a variety of other advantages by integrating these various technologies.

Importance of Integration in Modern Business

Application, data, cloud, and API integration are just a few examples of the various shapes that integration can take. No matter what kind of integration a business requires, the objective is always to produce a unified, seamless experience that helps organizations achieve their objectives more efficiently.

In this article, we'll discuss the advantages of integration and how it may keep companies competitive in the quick-paced, the technologically advanced world of today. Additionally, we will discuss some of the various forms of integration and share case studies of businesses that have effectively used integration to enhance their operations. We will end by offering some best practices for companies wishing to integrate their platforms and systems.

Application program interfaces, or APIs, are connective tissues between thousands of programs in today's digital ecosystem. There's an estimated 50,000 APIs1 sighted in the wild alone, and that's derived just from what’s available publicly. 

Enabling a digital product to connect with others is important simply for internal business processes. A typical marketing department alone is shown to use upwards of 5,000 applications2 when it comes to storing, analyzing, and using information to conduct advertisement campaigns. Using API integration to ensure data integrity, save time, and prevent errors is a huge win for a company trying to cut down on operational costs

But there are other benefits to be had from API integration. Creating a product able to connect and “talk” to other programs develops new functionality that allows for customer growth in areas a company may not have previously considered or imagined. What's more, there's an estimated $1 trillion3 in global economic profit that could be up for grabs due to redistribution of revenues across sectors. 

But while the value of APIs might seem obvious to the tech-savvy individual, company stakeholders may not see it the same way. They may not be able to understand the business value that API integration can offer, beyond simply streamlining processes that “keep the lights on.” 

Here's how technology leaders can make a case for API integration within their business, and present not just the direct value of such technology, but also how it can impact a business's longevity and overall growth. 

value of integration

Getting Integration Buy-in

Direct Value

Direct value is the initial value that comes with the adoption of platform integration. These are usually visible in three areas of the software development life cycle

  • Build
  • Run 
  • Risk 

The use of a singular platform during the build phase of a project means fewer hours spent building and rebuilding APIs. Instead, APIs are recycled between common needs. Similar API builds across the board means less time to explain all the parts to new hires, thus leading into the quicker onboarding of new developers.

An integration platform also helps in the run phase. A singular access point means less time is spent on the maintenance, updating, and upgrading of various integrations and APIs. There are also lower costs associated with the hardware, software, and infrastructure of the platform. 

Lastly, integration platforms are a huge help when it comes to risk mitigation. By providing greater governance of endpoints, security is increased. Because of the singular access point, an integration platform inherently offers better reliability, availability, and scalability for the platform itself and wider IT architecture. 

It’s easy to assign a monetary value to each of the above areas. Stakeholders can compare the organization’s current state to a set of small inputs drawn from other successes from within the company or from third parties. 

Here’s an example:

value integration

Indirect Value

Then there is the indirect value that can result as part of the adoption of integrated processes. Indirect value is the broader business outcomes an organization can see as a result of integration. They can be represented by factors like increased revenue, reduced cost, or mitigated risk, or a combination thereof. 

These outcomes can be harder to describe or connect when discussing the value of integration, but there are several examples that technology leaders can use to better argue their case. 

  1. Mapping out specific use cases or requirements: By describing specific examples that are already in use, technology leaders can point out obvious areas where new software or systems can improve the overall process.
  2. Define a program or project: Keep it simple. By giving a larger technology initiative a singular name, business stakeholders can have something tangible to latch onto. Names like “streamlining the payment process” or “simplifying the ticket purchase process” provides a holistic explanation without going too deep into the technology.
  3. Work with stakeholders to set objectives: Once a project or program is defined, technology leaders can work with business stakeholders to establish the desired outcome and milestones by which to measure progress. 
  4. Have stakeholders define the value of each of the areas above; this ensures their understanding of the proposed initiative and, often, their buy-in.

The above described plan provides clear connections between how integration benefits the company from both an operational standpoint but also a business standpoint. It provides an understandable perspective that a non-technical audience can grasp. It also indicates how IT can provide value for the company as a whole, beyond being considered a “keep the lights on” department.

Technology leaders should also look to adopt a tracking and reporting system or process that clearly communicates the success of implemented technology initiatives. When done regularly, this sort of continued communication can help ensure business stakeholders understand the value of IT and are invested in future initiatives.

Integration is the Future, and the Future is Here

Integration is not only here to stay, it has become a vital part of business strategies that ensure a company’s longevity. In 2018, 97% of businesses said they were undergoing or planning to implement new technology initiatives, but 84% of them were hamstrung by integration challenges.4

These challenges can be surmounted when technology and decision-makers are aligned through communication and understanding. Technology leaders can connect with business stakeholders using the above described plan. A single-sided business model limits a company’s growth and longevity; API integration creates adhesion, stickiness, and relevance across your market.

If you need assistance discovering what integration can do for your business, or help creating a plan to persuade executives, contact Softjourn today!