VL OMNI is a service.
Customizing data integration strategies to each of our customers,
We’re like the custom made suit or the hand-built Bugatti of the data integration world.
But not everyone needs a custom suit, and not everyone fits the hand-built Bugatti profile. Just like other custom services, VL OMNI is not the right fit for every business.
So how do you know what business would be a good fit for our data integration services, and which would be better off with other boxed-product alternatives like plug-and-play integrations? How do you know if and when your business is ready to make the jump into a tailored data integration solution?
We’ve put together a short and fun
10 Question Quiz
for you to test your knowledge.
Take the quiz below, challenge your friend and peers, and let us know how you did in the comments below!
QUESTION 1 – What is omni-channel data integration?
A: A combination of processes used to combine data from different sources into meaningful and valuable information
B: A point where data is integrated with other data
C: Creating automated flows between applications via APIs (application program interfaces) so that data is automatically translated and moved within the whole back-end technology stack
D: The data used in the calculation of such things as the areas and volumes of irregular shapes and solids
ANSWER – C
Data integration is the process of tying disparate data sources – applications – together via APIs (application program interfaces). Data integration products and services ensure that your data is translated and moved between applications at the right time, and doing so across multiple sales channels (think online, marketplaces, and in-store) make it ‘omni-channel’.
But data integration does not provide insight or apply meaning to your data – that’s a job for your staff and applications!
QUESTION 2 – What are three types of data integration methods?
There’s more than one way to address your data integration needs: what are the broad categories? (Select all answers that apply.)
A: Plug-and-play data integration products
B: Do-it-yourself programming
C: Customized data integration services
D: There’s more than one way?
ANSWER: A, B AND C
There are three broad categories of methodologies when it comes to data integration: plug-and-play (sometimes called point-to-point) products that usually come as add-ons to existing cloud applications; DIY programming done in-house by your IT department or by an external third party; and customized data integration services.
QUESTION 3 – What makes customized data integration services unique?
Compared to plug-and-play and do-it-yourself data integration solutions, what makes data integration as a service unique? (Select all answers that apply.)
A: Isn’t that when I outsource a couple of my data integrations to a third party in a foreign country?
B: It’s scalable, meaning my data integration solution will meet the needs of my company as it continues to grow.
C: All applications are integrated through a single core application (usually the ERP), known as the ‘hub and spoke’ or ‘centralized’ data integration strategy.
D: I can outsource my data integrations one application at a time and the service provider will put together a system that will grow with me.
ANSWER: B AND C
Customized data integration services like VL OMNI create a holistic system of your entire back-end technology stack, putting it together around a single centralized application like your ERP. Compared to plug-and-play and DIY integrations, this approach allows your company to continue to scale.
QUESTION 4 – I have a few applications tied together via a plug-and-play product. Is my business integrated?
My business is using one or two plug-and-play or point-to-point data integration products. Does this mean my business is fully integrated?
C: Only the marketing department can be considered integrated.
If you have even one application that’s not integrated but is actively involved in your business’ data production and flow, your business is sadly not integrated. It’s all or nothing!
QUESTION 5 – I’ve integrated all my applications together, but I’m still using work-arounds. What’s going on?
All my applications are tied together via plug-and-play and/or DIY data integration, but I’m still using work-arounds like uploading CSV documents, manually entering data, or copy and pasting information between applications. What’s happening?
A: I need to increase my internet bandwidth
B: This is normal for a fully integrated company; these are just glitches everyone learns to live with.
C: There’s a broken connection or missing connection somewhere in my data integration system.
D: My business has most likely outgrown my current integration strategy.
My business has likely outgrown the data integration solutions we’ve put in place. This is a good sign – your business is growing – but also an easy way to check if you should be considering ‘graduating’ from plug-and-play and/or DIY data integration to customized data integration service providers like VL OMNI.
QUESTION 6 – My business is growing – and fast. What’s the best data integration strategy for me?
I can see it in the numbers – we’re rapidly scaling. What’s the best data integration option for me?
A: None – we’ve always done things by hand at my business, and that’s the way it’s going to stay!
B: Integrate a few crucial applications with plug-and-play data integration connectors. They’re cheap and readily available, and already included with some of the applications I use.
C: Outsource to a foreign country to have a custom DIY solution put in place for my company. It’s much cheaper than hiring a local expert company.
D: Consult with expert data integration service providers to see what the best solution for me would be for today, and for tomorrow. I want to continue to grow without being impeded by my data movement!
Consulting with expert integration service providers that have a proven track record of success with other customers is a great first step. They’ll plan out a full strategy incorporating all of your applications, and will design the integration system so that it can grow with your company. You’re investing in your company’s future, setting things up right for today so you can continue to grow unimpeded tomorrow.
QUESTION 7 – What kind of business is best suited for data integration products?
Data integration products like plug-and-play connectors are suitable for specific businesses under certain conditions – select all that apply.
A: A new business that’s just starting out
B: An established business that’s rapidly scaling
C: A business who’s order volumes are low to medium
D: A business that’s reached a sustainable level of growth and wants to maintain it
E: A business with multiple partners, sales channels, and suppliers
ANSWER: A, C, D
Data integration products like plug-and-play or point-to-point integrations work great for small businesses, plateaued businesses that aren’t looking to continue to expand and grow, or new businesses. Businesses that use certain applications like QuickBooks might also be a better fit for these integration products, as customized data integration service providers don’t generally work with these applications due to their limited functionality. (But partners like VL OMNI will be happy to recommend a better solution to you!)
QUESTION 8 – A business increasing their channels; what’s their best data integration strategy?
They’re already selling in-store and online, and they’ve just recently included several digital marketplaces (like Amazon) into their mix. What’s their best strategy for data movement and translation? (Select all that apply.)
A: Think about how their data is managed and moved currently, and project for future growth. Then talk to some expert data integration service providers for an expert opinion.
B: Use plug-and-play or point-to-point data integrations for now, as they need them. Consider customized data integration solution providers only when this strategy starts to deteriorate.
C: Map out all the data touch points for a single order, and how many people ‘touch’ that data and in what way. If manual processes still exist in the order lifecycle, consider customized data integration services.
D: Expand into the new channels in a ‘wait and see’ method before entertaining customized data integration services – use plug-and-play integrations where they can in the meantime.
E: Evaluate growth projections and potential order volumes through the new channels. If the projected volume is high, implement a customized data integration solution now to avoid headaches later.
ANSWER: A, C, E
Planning ahead is always your friend in a growth or channel expansion situation. Customized data integration services aren’t suitable for every business, and each business’ situation is unique, so when in doubt – consult with the experts themselves! A good data integration partner like VL won’t recommend a service that won’t help your business continue to grow – your growth should be a vested interest of all partners!
QUESTION 9 – What are some benefits of partnering with a data integration solution provider over boxed integration products? (Select all that apply)
A: The data integration system is tailored exactly to your business’ needs
B: Onboarding new trading partners becomes significantly simpler, with the data integration partner there to help
C: Reducing work-arounds and manual processes throughout the entire business’ technology stack will save money long-term
D: The solution will be scalable and will continue to grow with your company (instead of impeding it’s function)
E: The data integration partner can make recommendations on robust applications to help improve the overall functionality of the business
F: The service provider is there on-demand for troubleshooting any issue
ANSWER: ALL ARE CORRECT
All are answers are examples of some benefits of partnering with a customized data integration service provider like VL. We’re there to help your business be successful, and will help in any capacity we can.
QUESTION 10 – Are customized data integration services right for every business?
Who does data integration as a service work for best? (Select all that apply.)
B: Small businesses
C: Rapidly growing small- to medium-sized businesses
D: Multi-channel businesses with a medium to high volume of transactions
E: Businesses that regularly use work-around or manual data entry processes to keep their business functional
F: Growing businesses looking for a distinct competitive advantage
Every business is unique, so this answer is really dependent on the specific case! If you’re a business experiencing growth in multiple channels who’s current data integration strategy is leaving them with inefficiencies, it might be time to look at bringing a customized data integration partner on board, like VL OMNI. When in doubt, reach out and ask!
Think you’re ready to jump to the next level?