We live in a data-driven world. It’s wonderful when it all works seamlessly but, as any chief technology officer will tell you, the problem with data is that it comes in every shape and size. There is “no one size fits all” with data. And that can make it very difficult to manage. Everyone has had problems with data, and the granddaddy of them all is the problem of data silos.
A data silo is a collection of data held by one group that is not easily accessible by another group. Data silos kill productivity and result in wasted resources, frustrated teams and angry customers. Data integration can help guard against data silos, but getting the blend right is key.
Integrating many different types of software platforms is a common challenge, especially for companies that have grown over the years and have many platforms. Older systems just do not play well with others, while newer systems use many different data formats.
Typically, there are two ways to deal with data integration. The old- fashioned way is to hard code an interface and hope that nothing changes — but that process is risky. Many companies have run aground on the razor-sharp edges of hard-coded data integrations. Once the code is written, there is zero flexibility around how to access and or exchange data. It’s the opposite of future-proofing, in which a design is flexible.
The other common approach is to have an “open ended” and completely flexible data exchange. That approach also comes with its risks: Sometimes the system consuming the data does not always understand what the data represents, requiring specific code to configure how the data is used. A team of developers will be necessary.
The smarter approach is to create an open-ended integration that is flexible enough to handle new data but smart enough to plug the data into a predefined framework that “understands” the purpose behind the specific integration. This blended approach has the benefit of the open data interface but is confined to a business specific configuration that allows users to use the data in a way that makes sense.
When it comes to choosing the data integration capabilities of your new lending system, it’s important to get it right. The key to getting the blend right is to ensure that integration is configurable by the user, with no hard coding required. As business models evolve and new opportunities arise in the marketplace, it’s important that your lending system gives you the flexibility to adapt quickly and efficiently. A blended approach to data integration is a key part of that.
Vlad Kovacevic is the founder and CTO of Inovatec Systems. With a focus on efficiency, flexibility and connection, JAVELIN by Inovatec is a state-of-the-art lending platform.