Integrations are everywhere in today’s IT landscape.
They are fundamental in supporting our businesses and allowing them to provide the services demanded by today’s consumers, both inside and outside the enterprise. From simple one-way data uploads all the way through to complex bidirectional ticket exchange integrations, otherwise known as eBonding, it is important that integrations are implemented correctly to ensure they stand the test of time and continue to deliver value.
eBonding has been around for decades now, starting life in the telecommunications industry to support large customers by connecting their ticketing systems together with a much more robust protocol than email. Over time, more and more businesses have taken the same approach with their customers to provide better service and value. Today, eBonding is critical to almost every enterprise business, and is even creeping into smaller organisations who might be providing managed services or other B2B technology to their customers.
Why is eBonding so complex?
Typical integrations focus on the exchange of data and there is a misconception that eBonding is broadly the same thing: sending data between two systems. Fundamentally, that is correct, however it is very much oversimplified. eBonding integrations require much more forethought to ensure they are fit for purpose and built in such a way that they more easily adapt to process modifications demanded both internally and externally.
The real complexity from eBonding comes from the fact that you are often talking about connecting two very different systems together, neither of which follows exactly the same process. Often, eBonding is also being considered for more than just one customer, so it needs to be scalable. Typical integrations might start with data mapping, and while that is valuable, the real place to start is defining the many interactions or scenarios that take place. This means thinking about how the users of the systems on either side will have the data they need at the correct time and will know what they can and cannot do with it.
Many eBonding integrations use two scenarios, Create and Update, however this generally does not represent a real process and makes testing, using, and maintaining the integration overly complicated. Done right, eBonding is a powerful tool that starts with your process at the time the process is being designed, whether it is your Incident process, Problem, Request, Change, or any other process used to support your customers.
What goes into a successful eBonding integration?
There are many factors that go into a creating a successful eBonding intergration that all relate to exactly how data is handled and exchanged by each system.
- Ownership: bonding tickets together in different systems can lead to data synchronisation issues if care is not taken to control when tickets can be modified. As a result, one of the key considerations in designing a ticket exchange integration is ownership. It’s important to bake in controls from the outset that clearly define who can update or change a ticket at any given moment.
- Referential data: it’s equally important to consider how you can deliver a shared, cross-system view of data like users, configuration items (CIs), locations, groups, and other supporting information around tickets – the ‘referential data’ – so that a user has access to the information they need to fix the issue when they need it.
- Sync vs Async: Sending a message to a system and hoping they process it is risky. We always recommend async message exchange, where the receiving system will send a separate receipt message to give positive confirmation it has been processed. This makes it easy to track and handle the messages which are critical to your process.
The watchwords for today are increasingly integration, integration, integration. As the modern enterprise has come to be increasingly powered by platform technologies, there is huge pressure to get systems working together seamlessly. That is what is driving the interest in eBonding. However, the complexity and the level of detail required puts eBonding above and beyond most other types of integrations.However, this isn’t complexity for the sake of it. Successful eBonding integrations are not impossibly out of reach for organisations. The main point being it is vital that all of these elements are considered individually and collectively if an implementation is to be successful
About the Author
James Neale is co-founder at ShareLogic. We built Unifi to excel at one thing: eBonding. No compromises. No distractions. Just the best ticket exchange integration platform you’ll ever use. We believe there is a whole lot more to successful integrations than just syncing data. That’s why we reimagined the integration experience to make it better for everyone.
Featured image: ©Eduard Muzhevsky