A Definitive Guide To Business Process Integration

September 5, 2022
Alok Suman
Process Management

Successful business results from the culmination of various processes – you cannot succeed in the long run without teamwork, collaboration, and unified business processes. 

Suppose a marketing team wants to send an email announcing a new feature/service to long-time customers. In that case, they must collaborate with the engineering team to understand the features and the customer success team to create an email list of loyal patrons. 

All three teams must work in unison in order to send a successful email. However, if there are disparities between the teams, the resulting email campaign will include incorrect data and send them to the wrong customers, resulting in a poor customer experience.

Now, we don’t need that, do we?

This is why you need business process integration (BPI). BPI will unify all the internal teams and their processes – every team will have real-time access to what other teams are working on, resulting in a uniformed business ecosystem. 

This article covers business process integration, its benefits, and how it can transform your business. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

What is Business Process Integration? 

Business process integration is the process of interconnecting different aspects of a company, such as people, resources, and technology, to create a unified environment.

BPI helps businesses communicate effectively with internal teams, management, partners, and stakeholders to make data-driven decisions. 

From vendor selection to generating goods received notes (GRN), invoice generation, product tracking, inventory management, and more, businesses use multiple applications within the company to manage various activities. 

In the case of a small business, all the activities can be managed easily. But as you scale your business, these processes will grow beyond your control. Using various applications to manage these processes without interconnecting them will lead to inconsistencies, high workloads, and loss of revenue.

However, business process integration will interconnect all the resources and applications. It will facilitate a uniform flow of data across all the teams within the business, resulting in better productivity and streamlined workflow.  

What are the Types of Business Process Integration? 

BPI is all about interconnecting various applications within a business. There are three types of integrations based on the application:

Native Integration 

Native integration is used when a pair of applications are easily compatible with each other. These applications already have an integration system built in; you only need to initiate the connection.

Once done, the data will start flowing between the application, and the team can readily use them for business processes. 

API Integration 

This is when applications integrate and share data via application programming interfaces (API).

For example, when you search for something on Google, the search engine will talk to the servers via API and display answers relevant to your search. 

Third-Party Integration 

To automate repetitive tasks, some businesses will develop their own applications. But if you don’t have the resources and budget, you can easily use an already existing tool and connect it to your business through third-party integrations. 

For example, if you want to send emails to your customers and don’t have an in-house email provider, you can integrate your business with third-party tools like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, etc., to send emails.

Benefits of Integrated Business Processes 

Now that you know about BPI and its types let's discuss how it can help your business. 

Removes Friction 

As we said in the beginning, a successful business results from collaboration. A business will have multiple teams, resources, and technologies within itself. Now, all the teams will have discrepancies and differences, increasing the friction and resulting in poor productivity. 

For example, if the inventory team doesn’t provide accurate and real-time data, the accounts team will have trouble managing the invoices and expenses. 

BPI removes this friction by interconnecting these teams together. It facilitates healthy communication and streamlines the workflows resulting in a frictionless business process. 

Increases Productivity  

Simply put, if you want to take a picture, will you launch the Camera app on your phone and capture it, or will you navigate through many applications?

You’ll just open the Camera app, right?

Similarly, if the business processes are not interconnected, the employees must navigate multiple applications to retrieve the data. This time-consuming process will also increase the workload and minimize productivity. 

BPI connects all the processes and brings all the data together in one place, which can be retrieved with a single click, thus increasing productivity. 

Ensures Better Customer Experience 

Customers are the core of any business. You need to meet your customer demands to succeed in the long run. 

When your business process is not interconnected, your customer service team will be forced to address customer queries with insufficient data, resulting in poor customer experience and churn. 

Business process integration enhances the communication and data flow between the team. Now, your support team will have the right data that can provide a solution to your customer’s pain points. 

Saves Time 

A business process is the combination of multiple teams and mountains of data. Your employees will have difficulty retrieving all these data manually, which will cost them valuable time. 

If you’re using multiple applications for various activities, then your team has to navigate through all those applications to collect information. 

Business process integration automates these activities by connecting all the applications to form a single ecosystem. Manual data retrieval is a repetitive task with a high chance of errors.

By automating these processes, your employees can easily collect the right data from one source as the applications are interconnected, and there is a constant flow of data between them. 

Your employees can save valuable time as the application will automatically collect and display all the relevant information within the business. This valuable time can be used to build a community for your business or other productive tasks. 

Business Process Integration Examples 

Let us consider GRN as an example to understand business process integration better. 

GRN refers to Goods Received Note, a two-way document sent by the buyer to the supplier/vendor to acknowledge the purchase. 

There are four different activities/teams involved in the GRN process, 

  • Vendor selection team 
  • Inventory team
  • Quality team
  • Account team 
  1. The vendor selection team will use a specific set of resources to collect the information about the vendor, submit an RFP and choose the right vendor. 
  2. Then, the selected vendor will send the goods, which will be received by the inventory team, where the QA team will perform multiple quality checks. Once the product is deemed fit, a GRN will be sent, and the products will be stored in the inventory.
  3. Once the vendor receives the GRN, an invoice will be attached to it and sent back to the buyer. 
  4. The accounting team will review the invoice against the GRN to check for discrepancies, and once the check is done, the payment will be released to the vendor. 
  5. The inventory team will get the confirmation, and the product details will be added to the inventory management application.

A tedious process, right? 

Remember, all the processes have used an application, and the data is stored on individual applications. 

Now, if an employee wants data from the GRN process, they have to manually get it from that particular application. But with BPI, all the data will be readily available for the employee. 

The team can easily collect the product data from the inventory along with the vendor who sent them and expenses released by the accounts team for that particular order. 

All this information will be displayed in a single click when you integrate your processes using a business process management platform. You can automate your business processes, minimize human errors, and increase productivity and sales by integrating your business processes using BPM.

Business Process Integration (BPI) vs. Business Process Management (BPM) integration 

Business process integration is the process of interconnecting various applications or processes together. In contrast, business process management integration is a more concentrated form of BPI, where it interconnects the elements within a single business process. 

Consider the previous example we discussed, GRN. 

Suppose the employee has to retrieve the expense data for a calendar year. They have to connect with the accounts system to retrieve the data for a certain period of time. 

Since this connection happens within a single process, it is called BPM integration as it manages the business process effectively. This quick retrieval of data is only possible if the processes are interconnected or the employee has to individually collect the data from all the processes and then consolidate it. 

Hubler is one such business process management tool that lets you automate particular business processes for easy retrieval and management of data. 

Integrate To Make It Great

Multiple processes within a business must work seamlessly to achieve long-term success. Most businesses have various applications for their business processes, and they are often not interconnected to each other, resulting in inaccurate data, inconsistencies, low productivity, and sales. 

Business process integrations unify all the processes and their respective applications, forming a single ecosystem where the data can be retrieved automatically for better business management. 

Hubler is one of the best business process management tools that let you automate an individual business process. Hubler integrates effortlessly with your existing databases, providing a 360-degree picture of your business process. You can easily interconnect various business processes and deliver a holistic customer experience.

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