For SME retailers affordable integration platforms are all typically implemented in the same way. All platforms come with a selection of pre-configured connectors that can be used to integrate business applications. For example, if you wish to integrate Shopify with NetSuite, you can select both connectors and the integration platform will help you map and transform the Shopify fields to the NetSuite fields. The same 4 key steps are performed every time an Integration is built:
Every time you wish to integrate two applications, you repeat the above process. Though all integrations are managed within the same Integration platform, the business is nevertheless creating a large number of point-to-point integrations that all need to be maintained individually. If a business has 10 applications that all need to talk to each other, that could mean up to 45 point-to-point integrations (i.e. n*(n-1)/2). If a single application needs to be replaced or upgraded, then at least 9 separate integrations need to be rebuilt.
This new generation of cloud-based middleware also provides graphical development tools that allow integrations to be done by junior developers or even non-developers. From systems analysts to administrators, anyone can manage ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting.
In our experience, this fragmented and chaotic way of managing integration can make the implementation and maintenance of a well-structured Master Data Model hard to achieve.