Enterprise Data Integration- What Is It & Why Is It Important?

As businesses expand, they continue to grow their intelligence by adding management software, tools, and various functions. While this increase in technology gives owners better insight into their operations, it can create an overwhelming task of managing multiple interfaces.

However, organizations can efficiently control and monitor all of their processes in one interface using enterprise data integration.

What is Enterprise Data Integration?

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Enterprise data integration (EDI) is the centralization of several business datasets and information, usually derived from multiple sources and formats. By aggregating data into one universal interface, employees can view various types of information in one location rather than having to filter through multiple systems.

Enterprise data indicates the information is relative to a business, and therefore more complex and expansive. This data is typically gathered from internal management systems, including inventory, point-of-sale (POS), and forecasting software.

EDI is used by over 80% of enterprises to facilitate ongoing operations. Businesses also use it to gather analytics, evaluate processes, and prepare systems for future events. EDI is a proactive approach that organizations can take that allows them to pinpoint inefficiencies, gain a competitive advantage, and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Otherwise, management must rely on reactive methods, often including guesswork and intuition, to address issues after they occur, rather than trying to prevent them.

Some of the biggest indicators that a business needs EDI are-

  • Data is isolated and segregated, making it hard to manage information.
  • The IT department is overwhelmed by the various data sources and trying to connect systems.
  • The data analysis process and insight generation are too time-consuming.
  • The existing solutions are causing technical issues.
  • Regional and global compliance requirements are becoming more restrictive.

5 Reasons to Use Enterprise Data Integration

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Most modern enterprises do not run solely off of one system, but rather a network of software, which creates a complex data management task without proper integration.

However, EDI seamlessly integrates a company's established systems using sets of policies, processes, programming, and compliance controls. This enables data to flow, consolidate, and filter through the appropriate software for easy management.

There are several other reasons business owners should consider implementing EDI, including-

1. Save Time and Resources

Manual data integration is a complex and time-consuming task, as there is an infinite amount of ways to connect systems. From the labor required by the IT department to the financial investment in application development, building integrations are also expensive.

Instead, a business should focus on a set of desired integration design patterns that developers can choose from. This narrows down the numerous ways that developers can build the tool, saving time and resources.

Enterprises can save even more time and money if they can find a preprogrammed tool that is compatible with their systems. If possible, owners should utilize an integration template from a provider to get started.

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2. Avoid Process Disruptions

Just as every application has service level agreements (SLAs) to define its performance and availability, data integration tools should also have a set of guidelines.

Integration SLAs set a criterion on how to monitor system availability and performance to detect malfunctions. This way, businesses are able to quickly pinpoint and respond to issues regarding data flow, consolidation, and the user interface.

Some businesses also have an information technology service management (ITSM) tool that alerts IT teams when there is a system or hardware failure.

3. Reduce Risks

An EDI strategy should also define how to manage integrations after they are implemented.
A plan of action should include viewer access control, altering management processes, repurposing integration tools, and data encryption. These guidelines should then be further enforced by a management system that ensures all software tools are abiding by the regulations.

These integration functions ensure businesses are avoiding unnecessary risks associated with handling, gathering, and exchanging data throughout internal systems. With full transparency and centralized governance, companies can prevent disruptions while improving operational efficiency.

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4. Improve Response Time

As business intelligence evolves, the threat of security breaches increases. Data security is a top priority in businesses that depend heavily on their IT systems. Therefore, owners should consider how EDI can secure information management.

EDI sets another system in place to block hackers and alert users of security threats. By utilizing governance control functions, management can track internal activity in real-time to control shut-off points and information flow when threats emerge. Integrators are also programmed to close any entrance points that could potentially grant intruders access while bypassing security.

Once the threat is defined and isolated, management can secure the system, double-check databases, update software, and restore the environment. This functionality reduces response time, enabling IT managers to handle incidents promptly, so the workflow can return to normal as soon as possible.

5. Increase Agility

Due to the size of their internal processes, some enterprises have poor agility when it comes to adapting their systems and strategies over time.

However, with EDI, businesses can implement tools, strategies, guidelines, and regulations across all of their internal systems consistently. With this increased agility, owners can avoid implementing non-compliant software changes.

EDI also provides the tools to enhance the speed of established systems, improving IT's ability to adapt processes with the company's evolving needs.

Businesses that utilize EDI can enjoy a competitive edge just by gaining better control and overview of their internal systems. With better access to data, management can configure more effective analytics and strategies.