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Business process integration, also known as BPI, is the strategy of finding ways to connect individual technology systems so that the flow of information between those systems is efficient and seamless. The idea of this type of integration is to eliminate the need to duplicate data in several different systems, and increase the overall efficiency of the business operation. When structured to best advantage, business process integration can save the business a great deal of time and money.
One example of business process integration involves establishing a relationship between the sales and billing systems within a company. In some cases, the connection is reciprocal, in that specific data within the sales database can be accessed from the billing system, and vice versa. This means that if the integration is configured with the right protocols, a salesperson can access current billing period figures for a given client by going to that client’s profile in the sales database and executing a request. At the same time, a billing specialist could initiate a query from the billing system to the sales database and download information regarding the newest contract rates extended to a customer.
The concept of business process integration can aid in making sure that customers orders are processed, executed, and billed with relative ease, simply by establishing connections between all relevant systems. For example, if a customer schedules a conference call with a service provider, the details regarding that order are entered in a reservations department, and the information is downloaded to the conference bridge where the call will actually take place. This means there is no need for the conference operator to enter the data manually, and possibly make an entry error that negatively impacts the conference call itself. Once the call is complete, the data for the call is automatically downloaded from the conference bridge to the billing system, where the correct rates are applied and the invoice automatically prepared by the system, without the need for a billing specialist to manually enter data from a printout of conference bridge activity.
By effectively using business process integration to establish connections between internal systems, businesses can often manage tasks with a greater degree of speed as well as accuracy. The ability to retrieve customer names and addresses for a mass mailing is simplified when an integrated system can combine a letter template with that contact information, download the created documents to a printer, while at the same time preparing an email listing that makes it possible to notify those same customers to expect the mailing in a few days. A project of this type can be managed by a single employee in a matter of a couple of hours, rather than requiring several employees to devote time to the project over one or two days.
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