In this era of digital transformation, a connected business is a successful business because it is faster, smarter and more flexible. A business achieves this by not only bringing together applications and data, but also people, processes and a wide range of other technology investments.

As part of a digital transformation journey, customer initiatives typically fall into four key areas. In the IT realm, these are what we call ‘connect’ and ‘modernise’, and for business it comes down to ‘transform’ and ‘innovate’.

Connect refers to the unification of existing systems and assets. You might be deploying a new cloud-based application and need it to communicate with a legacy application that is deployed on-premises. Or if you are involved in mergers and acquisitions, you may need to bring together two very different sets of applications from the acquired companies. These are traditional integration use cases.

American Express experienced this recently when it decided to spin off its Global Business Travel (GBT) division as a separate entity to pursue growth opportunities. GBT had to “stand up everything from scratch” rather than relying on its parent company. Historically, setting up a new global IT infrastructure would take a year or more as enterprises wrestled the complexities of traditional point-to-point integrations.

GBT was able to link up a whole new set of cloud-based apps in less than three months by moving to a cloud-based environment powered by the Boomi platform. This was possible because GBT wasn’t required to code each of its 120 integrations independently, but instead centralised everything through one interface.

Modernise means an organisation is looking to build a modern technology infrastructure by eliminating or improving old, brittle technology it has. These companies are usually worried about data governance, cloud adoption and IT consolidation.

Australian energy company Origin needed to make better use of its maintenance and operations personnel working in remote locations. Thousands of Origin workers maintain and operate gas facilities, pump lines and infrastructure in remote locations with limited to no internet access.

Boomi helped Origin create a dynamic scheduling system for all this work. This has helped Origin reduce risk and complexity associated with manual data entry, and allocate workers more effectively which has in turn boosted production and lowered costs.

‘Transform’ refers to an organisation’s willingness to change its processes and practices to improve collaboration and become more agile. It may want to transform its workforce, accelerate IT delivery, optimise operations, etc. It’s more about the business outcome rather than the technology itself, which reflects the approach taken by Engie.

In France, Engie serves almost 23 million homes and more than 41,000 businesses. Its enterprises and collectives (E&C) business focuses on helping customers become more energy efficient. Key to this is being able to innovate and respond quickly to changes in the market. Engie E&C tapped Boomi to achieve this, using the platform to enable end-to-end visibility for every business process it has. All information systems are now connected, allowing new energy management services to be rolled out significantly faster.

Organisations which have already invested in modern integration are now evaluating how to convert that into competitive advantage, whether it’s through new products, experiences or even business models. This is the ‘innovate’ phase, and usually involves conversations around the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, robotic process automation, and more. These may be non-traditional uses of integration, but the rate of digital advancement will accelerate them into the mainstream.

Fast food company Jack-In-The-Box (JIB), in the USA, was searching for ways to return more value to its franchisees, allowing them to increase profit and open more stores. Not only do retailers such as JIB have traditional market pressures to deal with, but customers now also expect a personalised user experience.

Delivery startups – like GrubHub and UberEats – provide excellent opportunities to expand reach and improve the customer experience, but connecting to these services requires integration to menu, employee and location systems – both at the headquarters and directly to each of its 2,200 stores. While food delivery is now commonplace, having those systems linked up now provides a framework to capitalise on the proliferation of today’s major trends – namely automation and IoT.

In the future, data from IoT devices could also be leveraged to optimise JIB’s supply chain, doing things like creating dynamic promotions based on product inventory or expiration dates, or even based on external forces like local sporting events.

These four key customer initiatives propelled by digital transformation — connection, modernisation, transformation, and innovation — help companies accelerate themselves into the future.

About the author

David Irecki is the director – solution consulting APJ at Dell Boomi, who is a member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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