ShareLogic: Why eBonding is the 'new' app data glue

Software application developers need to know what eBonding is.

It could be some form of epoxy resin-based adhesive (that has its own app) to track tackiness and stickiness for those really tough-to-fix jobs when you need to refix your shoe leather during Covid-lockdown because all the non-essential retail shops are closed… but it’s not.

In fact, eBonding is something else… and it comes about because integrations are fundamental in supporting businesses today. 

But while most integrations are simple data exchanges, eBonding is all about integrating processes – which brings with it a completely different set of challenges and requirements.

Data integrations are everywhere, but eBonding is much less common, so what is it exactly?

There are plenty of developers who have built lots of data integrations. Far fewer have that same level of direct experience of eBonding; therefore, they can’t be expected to know all the deeper nuances and complexities at play.

What is eBonding?

In precise terms, eBonding (or electronic bonding) refers to a B2B software integration methodology that automates the data exchange between two business applications so that changes in transactional data in System A are reflected (and hence, bonded) in System B so that the two sets of data are fused in order to deliver an end-to-end software-based business process.

Co-founder of eBonding specialist ShareLogic James Neale argues that the most fundamental mistakes happen when eBonding is an afterthought. 

“Often a lack of communication and understanding between different lines of the business will lead to development times getting squeezed and teams being pushed to get eBonding integrations out quickly. The effort and complexity involved in properly building eBonding integrations are underestimated and developers aren’t given the time they need to think through the essential considerations: what’s my strategy for doing this? What is the overall view? How am I doing it? Am I going to build all my integrations the same way? What system am I using? All these questions should come to the fore,” said Neale.

According to ShareLogic, eBonding has been around for decades now, starting life in the telecommunications industry to support large customers by connecting their ticketing systems together with a much more robust protocol than email. 

“Over time, more and more businesses have taken the same approach with their customers to provide better service and value. Today, eBonding is critical to almost every enterprise, and is even creeping into smaller organisations who might be providing managed services or other B2B technology to their customers,” writes the company, in a technical blog.

ShareLogic’s Neale: Fundamental mistakes happen when eBonding is an afterthought.

Neale and team explain that the real complexity from eBonding comes from the fact that software application development engineers are often talking about connecting two very different systems together, neither of which follows exactly the same process. 

Data mapping ground zero

Often, eBonding is also being considered for more than just one customer, so it needs to be scalable. Typical integrations might start with data mapping and while that is valuable, the real place to start is defining the many interactions or scenarios that take place. This means thinking about how the users of the systems on either side will have the data they need at the correct time and know what they can and cannot do with it.

ShareLogic also tells us that there are many elements that go into a successful eBonding integration that relate to both how data is handled by each system and exchanged between them, and also how the processes interact together.

For example, bonding tickets together in different systems can lead to data synchronisation issues if care is not taken to control when tickets can be modified. As a result one of the key considerations in designing a ticket exchange integration is ownership. How do you bake in controls at the outset that clearly define who can update or change a ticket at any given moment?

Not thinking these questions through or leaving enough time in the process is problematic because your process is king in eBonding. 

You can have a poor platform, but if your process is excellent you can still make it work.

Sticky enough for you? 

Image credit: ShareLogic

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