In order to stay competitive nowadays, it is imperative that a business knows exactly what is going on with its products and services in relation to its customers at any given point in time………and customers expect nothing less. To compete effectively and achieve this level of capability, it is necessary to have IT systems which talk to each other. Despite the current trend of focusing on customer data, due to the looming GDPR and Big Data initiatives, companies of all sizes are still struggling to achieve this.

Think about it. As a customer, we expect to be kept abreast of progress at each step along the customer journey. More than ever we expect to be constantly informed, whether over the phone, email, text, or via the internet. Providing this information quickly (real time) and communicating in the preferred format of each customer is key. It is difficult to get a real-time view of what is happening in your business when you have to access multiple systems just to find out basic information. This level of capability is hard to achieve unless you have bought all of your software from one vendor with “native integration”.

Tying internal systems together, enables a company to achieve a “single customer view” which in turn leads to the kind of customer experience that the millennial “I want it now” generation are used to receiving. It also enables faster, more accurate management information and reporting. However, integrating the data collected and used within disparate systems requires a specific skillset and traditionally has required a technical person to write “code” to tell the software packages to talk to each other.

The problem with this kind of integration is that it is lengthy and costly. Furthermore, minor changes made to the individual systems, such as routine updates and patches may cause the integration to fail. Most worryingly, if the person who wrote the original code leaves the company, it can be hard for other people to identify and fix the problems.

This is where “Zero coding” integration comes into its own. As a term, it is slightly misleading. In fact, rudimentary knowledge of coding “language” and convention would be a distinct advantage. “Low coding” integration is probably more accurate. Whilst most of the tools in Gartner’s magic quadrant come with pre-built connectors, there may still be the need for some tweaks to get things up and running. What is clear, however is that this type of integration is making it faster and cheaper than ever to gain a competitive advantage.

Zero coding promises the ability for almost anyone in the company to perform integrations. These people are known as “citizen integrators”. By “citizen” the term refers to a non IT person performing the integration, with the use of an integration tool. In reality however, it is usually IT who take ownership of integrating the systems for obvious reasons.

Ipaas (Integration platform as a service) solutions are hosted in the cloud. Most of these solutions allow users to choose to share their configured connections for popular software packages (such as SAP, Salesforce, Oracle etc) with other users. A major breakthrough, speeding up the integration process.

In the grand scheme of things, senior business leaders may not be interested in knowing the finite details of “zero” or “low” coding integration but they do care about competitive advantage.