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The Benefits of Modern B2B & Application Integration Systems

By Nikki Dent

It’s common for companies to start building integrations for internal and B2B systems using coding and technology that they are already familiar with. This can be a good way to get integrations up and running quickly, but often these hammer-and-nail-type approaches turn out to be difficult to maintain and scale as your business grows. The integration team at Aptera can help you convert your complicated or outdated integrations into modern systems that can better grow with your business and are easier to maintain.

Our team recently saw this struggle with one of our clients. They’re in the freight forwarding business and use integrations to collect information about goods that need transported—like weight and volume—and send that information out to partner carriers for quotes. The system they were using for this integration was built for an on-premise database using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). This arrangement is functional, but SSIS limitations required the developers to write a lot of custom code for each integration, making the system difficult to develop and maintain.

One of the main pitfalls of developing integrations with just any available tools, is that it leads to fragile point-to-point integrations. Integrations of this type can quickly become a tangled web of connections that are difficult to follow for management and growth. In this scenario it’s very difficult to make changes and perform testing.

Point to Point Integration Graphic 

Modern systems avoid this point-to-point style of integration by taking advantage of re-usable connectors instead. This eliminates the need to write similar code for every application that you need to connect. It also means that there is less integration code to maintain overall.

Hub Connector Graphic 

To accomplish these simplified integrations, we use Microsoft Azure Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). Azure includes tools like Logic Apps which offers hundreds of reusable connectors out-of-the-box and ready to be used in your integrations. Logic Apps allow you to design workflows in the cloud, based on a trigger and a series of actions. These workflows can utilize the available connectors or you can code a custom connector, which can be reused across multiple Logic apps within your organization.

Another benefit to these modern tools is that they are serverless. Being serverless means that your business won’t need to make a large, upfront investment to build a physical machine powerful enough to handle the volume you have today, plus projected future volume. Cloud-based services are easy to scale with your business, because they have unlimited power and you only pay for what your business currently uses on a month-by-month basis. If your business grows and you need more space for more integrations, you just increase your monthly amount.

Integrations are key to the day-to-day function of many businesses, so we think that it’s well-worth the investment and effort to keep them up-to-date. Modernizing your integrations will ease the regular maintenance of them and allow them to be easily scaled up for growth. An additional benefit to modern integrations, is that many platforms allow more transparency into the data and performance of your integrations.

If you’re interested in starting an integration modernization project, reach out to Aptera to learn more.

 

 

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