As integration specialists, we sometimes come into complex digital transformation projects right at the tricky part. This is when the project has run overtime, or is over budget and there has been a lack of planning for complex integration challenges. It’s at this point that the technical and project team are suffering, and often having to go cap-in-hand to the Executive to ask for more funds to cover integration challenges. Sometimes these conversations fall short, as non-technical business leaders don’t see the connection between their integration challenge and business problem.
Add to that a bunch of boring industry integration jargon continually spat out by iPaaS or middleware vendors on how cool SOA, microservices, serverless, API gateways (whatever cool acronym is in town) – senior executives can sometimes turn a deaf ear to the power that integration can bring them.
This is why building a business case right from the start of the project, scoping for it and choosing the right technology (whether COTS or custom), is crucial to achieving high performing application environments.
In this blog series, we’ll be taking away all of the product marketing bull and will be focusing on how integration, that is designed and implemented by subject matter experts, brings true business value.
How integration can enable rapid order processing and faster warehouse dispatch:
We work with a major global retail brand that brings affordable, stylish and on-trend clothing catered to the youth market. It has been one of the fastest growing retail brands in recent years, taking major e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar sales distribution channels by storm. During the pandemic, they noticed increased and prolonged use of their ecommerce facilities. However, with the increased use came the challenge to scale warehousing and rapid order fulfillment at speed. They needed a platform and integration solution that created speed and agility.
The Business Challenge:
Despite incredible growth, the business was seeing challenges in processing online orders in a 24 hour cycle and was unable to keep up with delivery timelines and demand. Given delivery companies were under pressure, it was critical that the e-commerce and real time order processing function was operating seamlessly in order to have product available in time for delivery pickup. Additionally, the current warehouse fulfillment technology was unable to accurately record stock levels, inventory shortages, returns and retrieval. These two technologies were also working in silo, therefore, creating a large amount of manual entry and workarounds for logistics and warehouse staff. The current state was not scalable, and was error prone to the cost of millions of dollars per year.
From a technology perspective, the customer used cloud technologies such as Salesforce for sales, Shopify for ecommerce, NetSuite for finance, and other custom applications, including one for fulfilment to enable the early days of growth. They used a data extraction, transformation and loading tool (ETL) to manage the data flows between their systems and for an order fulfilment process across their sales, finance and warehousing teams. The ETL tooling was incompatible with the companies fast-growth and still required an on-premise agent which was not fit-for-purpose for global ordering or 24 hour technical support.
How Integration Solved the Business Challenge:
After all of the platforms in the existing order processing cycle were assessed, the team came to the conclusion that they would not have to re-platform, however, they would need to build a strong integration strategy and delivery in order to connect the ecommerce front end, to the real time order processing and through to warehousing. An integration solution, as well as a team of integration experts (from IntegrationWorks Australia) were engaged to design and roll out a solution.
The team at IntegrationWorks Australia designed a specific solution to suit the immediate needs, and built for scale and the future. The solution included designing a built in API Manager that connected internal and external data points in a seamless and scalable way while hosting web services and service orchestration that was 100% cloud-based. In addition to the API Manager solution, IntegrationWorks was able to implement a platform that offered synchronisation with 120 out-of-the-box connectors, including Salesforce, Shopify and NetSuite. IntegrationWorks Australia also offered integration managed service and future-resiliency advisory to ensure continued integration evolution as the company grew.
Within 30 days of go-live, our customer achieved a streamlined online store-to-cash flow connection that covered order processing and dispatch in an automated way. They were able to expedite warehousing and order processing to set up faster deliveries to their customers, while also monitoring store stock levels and ensuring each store was holding the appropriate amount of stock.
Within the first three months of implementation, the ecommerce integration processed over 8,000 orders from customers online with 97% accuracy of order dispatch, improving on their previous 87% accuracy of dispatch.
- 500%+ decrease in order processing time
- $3,500,000 USD saved on not having to purchase new order fulfilment software
- Improved accuracy of order processing up by 10% (from 87% to 97%)
- Opening up of global channels for real-time order processing and dispatch
Want to know more?
Integration Works helps clients use, collate and share data more effectively across on-prem, cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid environments.
We employ the best in integration architecture experts and DevOps teams who believe connected technology is fundamental to high performing organisations. Paired with our range of world-class integration platform partners, including AWS, Azure, Kong, GCP, Mulesoft and WS02, our experts work closely with our clients to align emerging technologies with reliable and proven best integration practices.
With offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, our teams can help you with:
- Integration Maturity Assessments, Microservices Strategy, API Strategy and Integration Planning;
- Integration and Cloud Technology Selection and Procurement,
- Integration Architecture and Engineering Services to connect Apps, Data, Legacy, IoT, Cloud, On-Premise and Multi-Cloud;
- Integrating for Speed, Scale and Velocity with Automation-First Integration Containerisation & DevOps; and
- Integration Support and Managed Services for future-proofed integration resiliency.
Learn more about our services here.