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IT leaders must address integration to support business ecosystem

New survey finds that for most businesses, digitisation initiatives are hampered by legacy IT and integration issues

An online survey of 100 businesses has found that more than one-fifth of them want to update their legacy systems.

The survey, conducted by integration specialist Cleo, found that within the business-to-business (B2B) market, application and cloud integration challenges amount to a $500,000 loss to enterprises each year.

According to Cleo, as companies embrace digital transformation strategies to improve relationships with partners, suppliers and customers, they often discover that their current integration software lacks the innovation to enable their desired business outcomes.

The survey found that almost half (48%) of organisations want to modernise their IT in order to compete more effectively in today’s digital business landscape. Respondents said modernisation is key to consolidating disparate technologies, automating data transaction processes and gaining visibility into their critical data flows.

However, the research found that modernisation is one of the enterprise’s biggest challenges.

According to Cleo, while the surveyed IT decision-makers understand the limitations and high maintenance cost of legacy technologies, they also recognise the systems’ importance to day-to-day operations.

In Cleo’s experience, a major part of digital transformation is balancing old and new technologies, which means integrating legacy systems with modern applications cost-effectively and without disruption. For this reason, enterprises must simultaneously maintain legacy systems while adopting newer cloud services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to engage in and support how business is done today, it said.

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The freedom and flexibility to develop applications rapidly using diverse platforms will put IT infrastructure teams under increasing strain.

Businesses that have modernised their IT are in a far better position to make the most of digital transformation initiatives.

Cleo said businesses face an unprecedented need for flexible integration, comprehensive governance and business agility to support the critical B2B communications and trading partner onboarding processes that drive revenue.

The survey highlighted the importance of new business models based on ecosystems of business partners, which put extra pressures on IT. To modernise integrations between ecosystem partners and internal systems, organisations must consolidate disparate systems and applications within a flexible and highly available IT architecture, automate data transaction processes such as partner and application onboarding, and support reliable, end-to-end data flows that comprise healthy business relationships, said Cleo.

“The overwhelming consensus from these IT decision-makers is that new business demands – many of them brought by forces outside the company – are putting additional pressure on organisations and technologies to deliver better ecosystem-integration solutions,” said Cleo CMO Tushar Patel.

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