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Automating the integration journey with Alumio

Written by
Saad Merchant
Published on
June 1, 2023

Most modern businesses are heavily investing in integrating various systems, software, and data sources to accelerate digital transformation and empower business automation. This involves digitalizing business processes like Sales, Marketing, HR, Logistics, and Customer Service. And to do so, in turn, involves integrating ERP, e-commerce, PIM, CRM, WMS solutions, Marketing Automation software, and other cloud apps or SaaS solutions. The traditional way to connect these systems involves building point-to-point integrations with custom code, which is expensive, time-consuming, and unsustainable in light of the increasing demand to integrate multiple software solutions. That’s where a solution like the Alumio iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) comes into play! As a low-code integration platform, Alumio doesn’t just make it possible to connect multiple applications swiftly, it also helps businesses automate their entire integration journey.

What is the integration journey for modern businesses?

Custom code integrations vs. the “integration Platform as a Service”

In the quest to digitally transform and automate business processes, when businesses identify what systems, software solutions, cloud apps, or data sources they wish to integrate, their integration journey begins! At one point, businesses would mainly integrate only two or three systems, which would usually involve an ERP to E-commerce connection. However, with the explosion of new SaaS solutions and cloud apps, businesses are now challenged to deliver product experiences and customer service across multiple channels. This involves integrating other solutions like PIM (Product Information Management), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), WMS (Warehouse Management Software), POS (Point of Sales) systems, Marketing automation software, and more.

Thus, a key defining factor in the integration journey for businesses is Time to Market (TTM), which is determined by how fast and seamlessly companies can integrate two or multiple applications. In this regard, to understand how the integration journey has evolved over the years, let's compare how businesses traditionally built system integrations, in contrast with most of them now starting to implement the “integration Platform as a Service”, or iPaaS solutions, such as the Alumio iPaaS.

The time-consuming integration journey with custom code

Let’s take the common integration use case that involves an enterprise wanting to connect its ERP system with an e-commerce platform to digitally grow its operations. Traditionally, they would employ their IT teams or system integrators to connect these two systems with custom code in a point-to-point fashion. Apart from writing bespoke code, this involved developing a framework from scratch to create, manage, and monitor the integration. This is costly, time-consuming, and requires expensive and valuable senior developers to govern and troubleshoot the connections constantly.

Here’s what the integration journey with custom code looks like:

As you can see from the “integration coding process” above, it takes a significant time to even get a 1:1 integration off the ground. And then it takes even more time to develop and test the integration before taking it to market. Here are some business critical cons due to which this integration method isn’t feasible for modern businesses:

X No ownership and control of integrations
X A one-off investment with risky project timelines​
X Hidden running costs for hosting and future development efforts​​
X Lack of flexibility in reusing, changing, or expanding integrations​
X Long lead times due to extensive development cycles​

Most importantly, the biggest issue with custom code integrations is that integrating more software solutions or applications involves starting a whole new integration project. Furthermore, data sharing within custom code integrations is prone to human error, isn’t always real-time, and can result in more data silos the more you expand your integrations.

In contrast, the benefits of implementing an integration platform is that it provides one scalable, cloud environment where businesses can freely add or interchange new software integrations, on top of existing ones, without fearing loss of data integrity. This is a distinguishing factor, since the exponential growth of e-commerce and the demand for omnichannel experiences calls for integrated commerce ecosystems (consisting of multiple integrations).

Read more about building integrations with custom code vs an iPaaS - a comparitive study in 2023.

Experience a faster integration journey with an integration platform

The Alumio iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) is a cloud-based, low-code integration platform. As an API-driven solution, it helps seamlessly integrate multiple systems, software, cloud apps, and data sources from one user-friendly web interface, without custom code. Making integrations simple, Alumio enables both developers and non-coding business users to collaborate on one intuitive dashboard to create, monitor, and manage integrations. At the same time, Alumio also provides developer-friendly features to flexibly transform data and automate workflows across all connected systems.

Here’s what the integration journey with the Alumio integration platform looks like:

Alumio enables businesses to skip the costs and hassles of custom code by providing simple click-and-configure options to set up integrations. By helping to configure, test, and activate integrations quickly, the Alumio integration platform helps businesses achieve faster Time to Market (TTM) on their integration strategies. Here are some of the benefits of building integrations with Alumio:

Ownership and control of integrations​.
One-off investment with low-risk project timelines.
Low maintenance cost. Reuse, change, and expand integrations on demand.
The ability to train junior developers or project managers to govern integrations.
Short lead times, as all integration components are pre-built and battle-tested.

Even so, it is essential to note that businesses choosing to connect systems and data with the iPaaS vs. custom code is still only one part of the integration journey. The other (more signififcant) part of the integration journey begins after the software connections are built.

After integrating systems, the daily data exchange between connected systems needs to be managed or modified. New product or order details need to be updated across connected systems. Workflows need to be scheduled. Data duplications and integration errors must be detected and resolved, while data flows must be transformed based on changing business requirements. And the need to automate all these integration processes, which are prone to human error, brings us to how an "integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)" helps businesses automate their integration journey.

Read about how Verfwinkel, a leading paint and supplies retailer, used the Alumio iPaaS to seamlessly integrate around 4 systems with real-time data exchange, while building workflows to automate business processes across all connected systems.

How the Alumio iPaaS helps automate the integration journey

Apart from the speed and flexibility with which the Alumio low-code integration platform helps integrate multiple software, apps, and data sources, it also provides a host of features and benefits that helps businesses automate their integration journey on an everyday basis. Some of these include:

  1. Boosting Time to Market: implementing connectors
    The Alumio iPaaS offers a rich library of pre-built connectors to build quicker and cost-effective integrations with legacy systems and popular applications. This helps build and test POCs (Proofs of Concept) faster, enabling businesses to experiment flexibly with adding new integrations without fearing the loss of data integrity.

  2. Improving decision making: data visualization and real-time synchronization
    Get a comprehensive visual overview of all your integrations and data flows via the Alumio iPaaS interface. And benefit from seamless data synchronization to eliminate inconsistencies, ensuring improved decision-making and reducing data duplication or inaccuracies.
  3. Reducing operational inefficiency: data transformation and workflow automation
    Flexibly transform and map data between different formats, structures, and protocols using the Alumio iPaaS. Customize and schedule how data is shared across all connected systems by automating workflows to eliminate manual data entry and reduce operational costs.

  4. Saving on error costs: monitoring and alerting
    The platform's automated monitoring and logging capabilities result in real-time error detection, enabling businesses to save significant troubleshooting time and cost. The Alumio iPaaS also allows companies to set up custom alerts to monitor and notify errors in crucial integration processes.

  5. Ensuring business continuity: excellent platform uptime and holistic security
    Hosting integrations on dedicated, single-tenant cloud environments, the Alumio iPaaS provides high-level data security, caching capabilities, and reactivation procedures to ensure business continuity in case of system crashes.

  6. Providing business insights: data centralization and logging
    Centralizing all integrations and data on one integration platform, the Alumio iPaaS helps create data lakes and provides 360-degree data insights across connected systems. This helps businesses improve their data integrations and build strategies to integrate new systems to optimize their value chain.

In conclusion…

The Alumio iPaaS elevates the integration journey from mere point-to-point integration projects into a constant endeavor to keep integrating the newest solutions in a fast, flexible, and future-proof way. This could include adopting the new composable commerce approach or integrating the latest AI developments (such as OpenAI) to enhance commerce experiences. The bottom line is that businesses have to adopt digitalization and automation to keep up with the rapidly evolving demands of the digital world. And while this means achieving automation through system integrations, it also means automating the integration journey itself.

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