Today's business world is very complex and, as a result, businesses require more and more systems to run their business operations. As a company grows, so do its tasks, its workforce and, of course, its business activity. When this happens, it is necessary to acquire or have more systems to run the operations. If these systems are not connected to each other and do not share and exchange information, the company's performance can suffer greatly. It is precisely for this reason that interoperability has become an essential aspect to ensure the smooth running of a business.

Bismart-Interoperability-InteroperabilidadWhen we talk about interoperability, we refer to an operation that, through technology, ensures that all systems and applications in a business are integrated. Therefore, interoperability enables the exchange of data between different systems and, in turn, transforms business processes since different departments share data and information and work in a connected way.

In today's landscape, businesses have large amounts of data (big data) that are in turn held and used in a large number of different applications or systems. This leads to complications as each system stores and manages data in a different way and therefore multiple departments within a company cannot exchange information, or doing so is too tedious and complex. 

In addition, the different systems contain disparate data with unequal characteristics depending on the department in which they are used or the functionalities they occupy. In other words, companies have many systems or applications that, in turn, have information that is in different formats and, therefore, when trying to understand it, it is as if it were in different languages. Interoperability, then, is the connecting piece that acts as a translator between all of them, making the information integrated, accessible, understandable, processable and useful as a whole. 

In addition, it avoids unnecessary tasks and streamlines business activity, avoiding interruptions in processes or someone having to manually transfer information from one system to another. This process reduces the time spent on unnecessary tasks, eliminating them and allowing the team to focus on more productive work. 

Interoperability is also necessary to manage master data properly, to exchange information with third parties and to consolidate data. 

Interoperability thus acts as a resource to standardise all applications in an organisation. In other words, it ensures that the information from the different applications speaks the same language, being understandable for everyone and from any system.

On the other hand, as already mentioned, it is important to be clear that the data contained in these systems must also be integrated. In fact, nowadays, data integration is another vital requirement for a business to progress as expected. Without data integration, it is difficult for companies to have the information and insights they need to make the right decisions. In addition, data integration has been shown to bring many other benefits, such as ensuring that the information we have is reliable, promoting innovation in business strategies, and saving time and money.

Businesses are dealing with an increasing number of specialised systems and it is essential that these systems can exchange and share information with each other. Otherwise, organisations will face difficulties in consolidating information, managing master data, connecting applications, and exchanging information with third parties. However, these systems speak different languages and require an interpreter to enable communication due to differences in exchange formats, naming conventions, update frequencies, data requirements, and more.

There are many tools, processes and software that can help ensure interoperability in an enterprise. Some of the most common include:

  1. Application programming interfaces (APIs): APIs allow different systems to communicate with each other and share information seamlessly.

  2. Open file formats: Using open file formats such as XML, CSV or JSON can help ensure that information is readable and accessible by different systems.

  3. System integration: System integration solutions, such as Microsoft Power Automate or Zapier, can help connect different applications and services for better interoperability.

  4. Standard communication protocols: Using standard communication protocols such as HTTP or FTP can help ensure that different systems can communicate effectively.

  5. Data normalisation tools: Data normalisation tools, such as Talend or Informatica, can help ensure that information is structured and consistent across systems.

In general, the key to ensuring interoperability in an enterprise is to use open standards and technologies that enable communication and information exchange between different systems. It is also important to take into account the specific needs of the business and to choose the appropriate tools and technologies accordingly.

Interoperability functions and benefits

We have explained what interoperability is for and why it should be part of any business that wants to be up to date and operate effectively. But what is it really about? 

In practice, interoperability is performed through the following processes:

  • Data integration: Data from all systems are transferred and unified in the same place.
  • Adaptation to each system: All data are adapted to the different systems so that they are accessible from all of them, thus transforming them into intelligible information.
  • Data standardisation: Data are standardised by applying rules and relationships between them. In this way, different formats are not a problem and data redundancy is avoided so that they can be easily managed later on.
  • Data governance: Once the data is accessible and understandable, the information must be managed through data governance policies and through dashboards, scorecards or self-service BI. In this aspect, it is necessary to be clear about the difference between dashboards and self service BI because, although they can be confused, they are used and serve different purposes. At Bismart we created a custom-made solution through Power BI in which you can add indicators and dimensions in a self-service way. You can discover it in this webinar, conducted by Victor Rocabert, our CCO, or read it summarised in this post.
  • Validation of the information: The information is also validated and checked for operational failures or erroneous data.
  • Enabling the information: Finally, the information must be prepared so that it is accessible from all applications and ready for any operation and activity for which it is needed.

If you want to know the solution created by Bismart to apply interoperability in an optimal way and solve the problems associated with its implementation.

Interoperability and data integration

In today's business world, it is essential to have control over the data you work with. Data is gaining an increasingly important role in growing and improving the performance of a business, as it provides valuable information to optimise business strategies. Data integration is a key requirement to achieve this. As the name suggests, data integration is about unifying all the data from different departments of a company in one place, often in a data warehouse.

What is data integration?

Data integration is a strategic solution aimed at unifying data from different departments within a company into a single location, commonly a data warehouse. This process includes data collection, cleansing, filtering, conversion to a common format, and storage. Data integration allows for faster, more effective, and reliable data analysis, which can improve productivity and decision-making within the company. Data integration is essential for obtaining a complete and coherent view of the organization's data and for optimizing business strategies.

Data integration is not an easy process and involves both the unification and data processing. In other words, after collecting the data, it is cleansed (for example, by removing null values or unnecessary information), filtered (by verifying its reliability, validity, and relevance), and converted into a consistent format for processing. The curated data can then be sorted, aggregated, and combined to obtain new valuable and reliable information. Finally, the data is loaded into a single storage location where it is kept up to date over time. What good is having a large amount of data if it cannot be analyzed together?

For example, if a company wants to launch a new product or service, it is necessary to analyze information about previous products or services, competitor information, and buyer personas, etc. Often, this information is stored in different places, and each department handles its own evaluation. This approach is a common mistake since it is essential to analyze the data collectively to gain a comprehensive view by comparing and contrasting all variables.

With data integration, all this information is available in one place, and all departments have access to it. Furthermore, it has already been filtered, processed, and combined, making it quicker, more efficient, and reliable to draw new conclusions. This process not only greatly facilitates work but also enhances productivity and empowers business intelligence decision-making.

There are various techniques for data integration. At Bismart, we customize the process to meet the unique needs of each organization and utilize ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) and SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services).

  1. Improvement in Efficiency and Productivity: Having all the data in one place and unified makes it easier to access and analyze, thereby improving the efficiency and productivity of the company's departments.

  2. Informed Decision-Making: With more precise and up-to-date information, decision-making becomes more informed and effective.

  3. Increased Data Reliability and Quality: Data integration involves a cleansing and filtering process that enhances the reliability and quality of the data.

  4. Enhanced Flexibility and Scalability: Data integration allows companies to better adapt to changes and continue growing as their needs evolve.

  5. Cost Reduction: By improving efficiency and productivity, the time and effort spent on data management are reduced, leading to cost savings.

  6. Enhanced Customer Experience: With a more comprehensive and up-to-date view of customer data, companies can better personalize their products and services, providing a more satisfying experience for their customers.

  7. Time Savings: Automating the data collection, processing, transformation, and consolidation process results in a significant reduction in workload for analysts and data scientists, allowing them to focus on more productive tasks.

  8. Data Control and Power: Integration enables the management of all a company's data from a centralized location, making it easier to identify errors or mismanagement and reducing administration time.

  9. Utilization of All Data: Data integration standardizes all types of data and makes them accessible, regardless of their format. Often, companies overlook important data in their analyses because this data gets lost along the way or is in formats that are difficult to extract and unify with other datasets. Data integration solves this issue and allows businesses to harness the value of all data.

  10. New Business Strategies: Data integration can drive the creation of new, more informed and effective business strategies for the company.

  11. Data Security: The process contributes to ensuring the security of your data, which will be managed and transformed so that only relevant personnel can access it.

  12. Data Compliance: Centralized and unified management also facilitates compliance with data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe.

  13. Historical Record: Having integrated data in a single updating storage location allows for a historical record of information.

  14. Risk Reduction: Knowledge acquisition and data verification help mitigate risks that may arise from poor data management. 

The relationship of interoperability to data governance, data management and data quality

The aforementioned functions serve to ensure that a company's data is of high quality and controlled by a data governance policy. When we talk about data governance, we are referring to a business policy that is based on decision making regarding data both our own data and that of third parties, which is also, in most cases, confidential. Moreover, as its name suggests, data governance implies having control and authority over data by making conscious and precise decisions about its processing and the repeated application of control measures.

Data governance is closely related to data quality, data management and data analysis, which is often implemented through dashboards, scorecards and many other tools and applications. If you want to discover the best data analysis tools you can read this post. In Bismart, one of the few companies in Spain that has the distinction of being a Microsoft Power BI partner, we work with Power BI, one of the tools that make it possible to have a good data management in a simple, effective and complete way.

Data quality serves as a guarantee that the data we have is being used properly and is linked to data governance programmes such as SQL Server or Azure. We consider data quality to be data that meets the following purposes: completeness, accuracy, relevance and understandability.

Analysing the quality of our data is becoming increasingly important because most businesses today make decisions based on data analysis and therefore, if our data is not of good quality, we will not be able to make the right decisions. Furthermore, analysing the quality of the data we have helps us to identify errors, correct them and avoid business inefficiencies. If you want to learn more about data quality you can do so in our post on the importance of data quality.

What is Master Data Management (MDM)?

Today, it is essential for organisations to integrate their data in one place in order to maximise its potential and increase their competitiveness. To achieve this, an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process is required. At Bismart, we have carried out numerous ETL projects in various domains.

One of our projects was developed for a leading company in its sector, which had a complex set of systems and technologies, such as ERP, CRM and DWH, to meet business needs. In this organisation, the heterogeneity of the systems led to data silos. This had consequences such as data duplication, inconsistencies, incomplete or inaccurate data. In addition, data integration between systems was complicated and costly for IT departments.

The main challenges we faced in managing data were:

  1. Scattered Data: Being distributed across different systems, the data lacked a common understanding and was fragmented throughout the organization.

  2. Inconsistent Data: Due to the lack of synchronization between systems and data creation in different departments, integrating data with the rest of the systems was complex, resulting in inconsistencies. The lack of a common identification made it challenging to analyze customer behavior and capitalize on cross-selling or upselling opportunities.

  3. Inaccurate Data State: If systems did not share a common data state, capturing the state of data at a specific moment or over time was difficult.

  4. Data-Centric Ownership: Most enterprise applications did not allow companies to impose data ownership rules through the applications, such as identifying business domains like products or customers. This made audits and tracking difficult, as anyone with access to the application could modify the data.

  5. Lack of Business Process: Most systems did not allow companies to comply with their data governance lifecycles and processes. This meant that data changes required a subsequent approval or quality control process, which was not feasible due to the system's inflexibility.

  6. Slow Response to Changing Business Needs: Reacting quickly to changing business needs that affected multiple systems was challenging. This not only led to errors but also required significant effort and time. Moreover, there was no defined mechanism for the automatic distribution of modified data among all affected systems.

  7. Multiple Data Formats: Companies managed large volumes of data in different formats from various sources. Since there was no unified and centralized standard for data integration, companies had to invest many resources in data conversion and processing before distributing them to the respective systems.

  8. Mergers and Acquisitions: Mergers and acquisitions were frequent events, requiring the consolidation of all systems into a single logical entity. These transitions added more data incoherence and increased disparity between systems.

  9. Regulatory Compliance: External audits in a company could be costly and complicated. Without a centralized system, collecting and combining reports from various systems for audit and regulatory compliance purposes was difficult.

    In conclusion, addressing these challenges and overcoming the limitations of data governance is critical to achieving efficient information management and regulatory compliance. At Bismart, we are committed to developing ETL solutions that enable organisations to optimise their processes and get the most value from their data.

The solution developed by Bismart for this organisation was to implement a Master Data Management (MDM) platform that would enable a unified view of data across the organisation and achieve interoperability between the systems involved.

MDM is a process that involves collecting business data from multiple sources or systems, applying standard rules and processes, building a single view of the data and distributing this 'golden' version to the different business systems, ensuring its availability to all users in a secure manner.

It is important to note that an MDM platform differs from a Data Warehouse (DWH). While the latter focuses on facilitating the analysis of information from historical, transactional and other data sources, including the MDM system, MDM focuses on reconciling data from multiple systems to provide a unified view of master data, especially for operational processes.

The information contained in an MDM is more complete than in a data warehouse, as the latter stores only the data necessary for further analysis.

With this solution, the company was able to overcome the dispersion of data by having it centralised in one place. In addition, the MDM implementation improved efficiency, as the ability to access data from all sources and the compatibility between different systems streamlined processes such as data lifecycle management and audits.

In addition, users can now enter and manipulate data directly through a dedicated interface, giving them greater control and actionability over MDM data. The business indicators integrated into the MDM also enable reporting systems to be established for business processes and activities, providing greater control, monitoring and transparency.

Another significant benefit of the MDM solution was the reduction of data errors. By reconciling data from various systems and reducing errors, the company was able to increase its responsiveness to business needs. In addition, in the event of mergers or acquisitions, the company is better prepared and can ensure that these actions do not lead to additional data inconsistencies.

Which tools to use to implement interoperability?

There are multiple enterprise interoperability platforms and some, such as EAI (Enterprise Application Integration), are very costly to acquire. Other platforms are effective when companies have few systems, but end up being unsustainable as the number of systems to be integrated increases.

At Bismart, as experts in data management, data governance, ETL processes and operability with Data Warehouse, we have managed to solve the complications of interoperability.

We work with Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise tools and have many years of experience in creating solutions tailored to the specific needs of companies in all industries. In the field of interoperability, we have managed to optimise the process by means of the Enterprise Information Integration/Master Data Management (EII/MDM) mapping web platform, which makes connecting systems much simpler and more intuitive than with other platforms. In other words, it is easier to use and offers more guarantees. The peculiarity of the EII/MDM is that, unlike other platforms, it does not adapt each of the available systems to the others —a task that is very complicated and extensive— but, on the contrary, the data are grouped in a single place that communicates them and adapts them so that they can be understood and accessible from any of the systems.  

The EII/MDM therefore facilitates integration between a large number of systems and, because each time the company acquires a new system it is not necessary to adapt them all again, the process supports the digital transformation of companies

Interoperability platforms help to effectively address the challenges of interoperability between systems. These platforms address key issues such as:

  • Integration of information between systems
  • Adaptation to the unique characteristics of each system
  • Data standardisation
  • Information integrity
  • Data governance and integration processes
  • Information consolidation
  • Availability of information in real time

In the past, some organisations relied on EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) or similar platforms, while others opted for ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) processes to integrate only a few systems. However, the use of EAI platforms required a high acquisition cost, as they relied mainly on native connectors. On the other hand, as the number of systems increased, the maintenance, operation and evolution of ETL processes became difficult to control and sustain".

For enterprise interoperability to be optimal, it needs to include these three aspects:

  • Technical Interoperability: This refers to the ability to exchange information and share data in a business environment. It is closely related to standardization and addresses potential technical connection failures between systems or IT services. Technical interoperability is highly dependent on interconnection services, middleware integration, and security services. Technical interoperability, therefore, enables all members of a company to easily access all of the organization's platforms and systems, as well as exchange information freely, securely, and in an agile and rapid manner.

  • Legal Interoperability: Legal interoperability is related to the socio-economic value of information technology (IT) technologies. To maximize this value, it is essential for legislative and regulatory entities to build sufficient trust among user companies and professional developers of these technologies through open platforms and standards. International standards and regulations are becoming increasingly stringent, and complying with them automatically and systematically is a progressively complex task for organizations. They not only have to ensure compliance but also keep track of new laws and constant changes in national and international data-related laws. In parallel, enterprise systems, applications, and software are proliferating rapidly, making interoperability between them, combined with compliance with existing laws, increasingly complex. For these reasons, companies that entrust their interoperability to cloud providers have a distinct advantage. They can delegate or share interoperability tasks directly with the provider, who must ensure the relevant interoperability standards according to current international standards. Cloud providers, due to their extensive experience in this area and the large number of clients they work with daily, who have much higher demands than any individual company, know how to address all issues related to legal interoperability much better than any company could do on its own.

  • Business Interoperability: This refers to a company's ability to exchange information with its customers, suppliers, external partners, service providers, etc. In other words, it's the flow of data and information between a company and other companies, which is crucial for establishing relationships with other entities and collaborating with external agents outside the company. Business interoperability encompasses the virtual enterprise, the extended enterprise, and all the subsystems within an organization. Within business interoperability, there are different levels that can range from interacting with external partners to the highest level, where the exchange of information with external agents has minimal or no cost. The latter case is indeed the highest level of business interoperability an organization can achieve. However, such a high level of interoperability is not always an indicator of optimization, as efficiency in interoperability depends on the alignment between interoperability and its contingencies


Interoperability through Microsoft products

Microsoft has a long history of working to provide high levels of interoperability to its customers through business practices that include both interoperability with its products and collaborations with customers, industry standard development, offering resources for developers, access to Microsoft's intellectual property, access to technology, and tools that enable solution development, among other things. All of this not only benefits the companies themselves but also their customers and the market, resulting in improved opportunities.

The foundations on which Microsoft bases interoperability are: support for industry standards, open connections to its products, and data portability. Specifically, Microsoft is committed to open connectivity between its products and between its products and external products through APIs or external protocols. Microsoft also commits to complying with standards in all its high-volume products, ensuring platform compatibility and thoroughly documenting all product extensions. Regarding data portability, Microsoft ensures the design of high-volume products and data portability through the implementation of industry standards, open formats, and the choice of default formats.

Previously, platform and service providers as well as system integrators used intellectual property advantages as a differentiating argument for their customers and to benefit from unique data and application models. Therefore, in order for companies to take advantage of all the interoperability options that Microsoft offers, they must adopt a profitable business model, thus avoiding slow progress and late advantages. They must also seek provider relationship models through solutions that allow complementarity, economic coexistence, and long-term profit from relationships with their customers, prioritizing loyalty over one-time customer acquisition


Interoperability and systems integration: considerations and common ground

As we have already seen, interoperability is a multifaceted entity that depends on many aspects. However, one key aspect of achieving interoperability within an organization is system integration (SI).

System integration is the process of integrating all the systems of a company, including software and hardware, computer systems, applications, and any type of technology or operating platform. The purpose of system integration is to connect all the business infrastructure, including both internal and external systems, so that all the elements at play function as a single system, enabling interoperability between different tools.

In business, there are many different systems that operate independently and are programmed with different coding and programming languages. System integration acts as an interpreter between these different languages and programming to allow data to flow seamlessly.

In practice, it is a data integration process that allows for the convergence of information across all enterprise systems automatically. Without integration, companies would have to manually input information into each system, increasing the risk of technical errors, delaying processes, and hindering the organic flow of information exchange. System integration is therefore the key that enables all tools to function as a centralized network with a consistent architecture.

Furthermore, system integration allows companies to update their tools without having to change all the others or disrupt the chain of connection. This way, companies can continue to operate with their existing infrastructure while incorporating new technologies, software, and applications.

The relevance of system integration has proliferated significantly in recent years, coinciding with the growing demand for increasingly complex technological and IT solutions by companies. Companies increasingly need resources, systems, and investments in new production technologies that streamline operations and processes, resulting in a higher return on investment. In this regard, Grand View Research, a market research consultancy, published a report in 2019 forecasting a doubling of investment in system integration over 10 years, from $234 billion in 2015 to $530 billion in 2025.

Organizations are increasingly using technologies and systems that, without system integration, operate independently and include disparate codes, languages, programming codes, and data. Thus, system integration is the element that enables the union and standardization of all elements, facilitating the exchange of business information and data, which are often in different formats. Thanks to SI, information can flow uninterrupted from a centralized network to all areas that make up a company without the need to transform data each time information needs to be transferred from one system to another. Therefore, system integration is also a data integration process that enables automatic data exchange and avoids the need for manual input of data into each system. Manual data entry, on the other hand, increases the risk of technical failures and significantly delays processes and work routines, which system integration streamlines and resolves.

In addition, systems integration is becoming increasingly necessary due to the gradual transformation of business technologies, which is advancing at a frenetic pace, forcing companies to update their systems, platforms and technologies on a regular basis. With systems integration, companies can upgrade and/or change the systems they require, while continuing to operate with legacy infrastructure, thanks to the compatibility between divergent formats that systems integration provides.

Advantages of system integration

As mentioned earlier, one of the advantages of SI is that it enables the interoperability of business infrastructure, the exchange of corporate information, and the seamless adoption of new technologies without connectivity difficulties with others. In addition to what has been discussed, one of the most significant benefits of SI is the optimization of business operations. Interoperability, standardization, and comprehensive connectivity significantly enhance labor and business productivity, reduce operational costs and tool response times, and ensure that information will be readily available when needed.

Beyond work routines, system integration also offers an advantage for customers, as it improves the quality of products and services offered. In this regard, system integration can lead to increased revenue through increased sales—either by acquiring new customers or retaining previous ones—as well as cost reduction.

Furthermore, due to its nature, system integration is a safe bet for enhancing all activities, procedures, and operations related to data.

Other advantadges of SI are:

  • It supports data integration and data security.
  • Standardises and consolidates data, while ensuring data quality and facilitating strategic data management.
  • Extends the useful life of systems.
  • Facilitates the acquisition and integration of new technologies, systems and tools.
  • Favours the exchange of internal and external information.
  • Prevents potential technical failures in processes and operations.
  • Facilitates data governance and data management.


Common system integration problems and how to solve them

System integration requires complex procedures that can lead to issues. The methodologies used to carry out a system integration process can vary depending on the number of systems involved and the needs and objectives of each company.

Some of the most common problems that tend to occur during system integration processes are:

  1. Using the wrong tool: When choosing a tool for system integration, it's essential to consider the IT needs of your business. Otherwise, you may face an excessively slow process, experience inefficiencies, or incur high costs.

  2. Scalability: It is crucial that the SI process adapts to the future technological needs of the company and ensures long-term business scalability. If system integration cannot handle the acquisition of new technologies and tools or their maintenance, it will become more of a hindrance than an advantage.

  3. Disparate views: It is common for different departments within a company's ecosystem to use disparate technologies, systems, and applications. In this regard, system integration should have an architecture that facilitates the processes and operations of all business units and promotes cooperative work within the organization.

Previously, companies with few systems often used Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) platforms. However, the use of these platforms is not recommended due to their high acquisition costs and limited profitability. Other organizations integrate systems through Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes, which, while often effective initially, are challenging to maintain as systems and technologies multiply.

Bismart, with its extensive experience in efficiently integrating systems and enabling interoperability for other companies, has created a comprehensive and specific solution to facilitate system integration processes and successfully address the challenges that are commonly encountered. Enterprise Information Integration & Master Data Management is a solution for system integration, data management, and interoperability that, through a single platform based on Power BI and developed with Microsoft SQL Server, achieves system and data integration, focusing on the informational needs of companies. Moreover, it is a flexible platform that can adapt to the specific characteristics of the various systems that each company may have. It facilitates the exchange of business information between systems, centralizes master data management, and integrations into a single reference point. EII/MDM is a solution that can be implemented quickly due to its design, which reduces the number of required integrations and minimizes the efforts needed to develop the process. Once implemented, EII/MDM works nearly in real-time and enables long-term scalability thanks to its capacity to support large volumes of systems, technologies, integration interfaces, and data.

Interoperability and flexible technology

The technology market is clearly diversified. Over the past 10 years, the supply of software, technological tools, and applications has expanded dramatically, creating a market in which the big tech giants no longer represent a significant portion of the total market.

This reality has led technology providers to emphasize interoperability and system integration as key added values of their solutions.

Indeed, many technology providers offer solutions designed to be extensible, meaning the ability to expand one software or technology with another software that does not necessarily have to come from the same provider. This phenomenon is known as flexible technology because it can be expanded and also through another provider.

Currently, software that is not compatible with other platforms and technologies will have difficulties succeeding in the market, even if its performance is superior to that of other tools.

Interoperability is a crucial aspect today. Think for a moment about your company and the tools you use daily. It's likely that not all of them are from a single technology provider.

Companies are increasingly involved in technology, digitalization, and data management. The trend toward technology and data exploitation requires the use of multiple tools that must be compatible with each other and allow data integration. Data is a valuable resource in the business world, so for organizations to evolve toward a more data-driven culture, it's necessary for software and business systems not to obstruct the flow of information.

Data integration is a key aspect of system integration, so when investing in any technology solution, companies should evaluate the interoperability options it offers.

To ensure that the diversity of software, systems, and tools is not a problem, systems must be able to share information and data among themselves, which is interoperability.

On the other hand, interoperability between systems is crucial to ensure efficient process automation, allowing uninterrupted flow of real-time information.

Furthermore, having an integrated technological environment is essential for keeping tools and software up-to-date, which contributes to scalability and the ability to respond to long-term IT needs, improving productivity.

Technology is advancing rapidly, and business needs also change over time, making it increasingly common for organizations to update their technological infrastructure and protocols associated with their tools. For these changes to be possible, interoperability is essential, allowing companies to incorporate new technologies and update software without having to give up their existing infrastructure and other business systems.

Interoperability and the Tower of Babel myth

The Bible, specifically the book of Genesis, contains an early example of interoperability in its account of the Tower of Babel. The story goes that after a global flood, the descendants of Noah and his family, who survived the catastrophe, travelled to Babel and decided to build a tower that reached to the sky. At that time, everyone spoke the same language, but God punished the humans by making everyone speak a different language and unable to understand each other.

This biblical myth is an explanation of why we speak different languages, but it can also be seen as an example of the importance of interoperability and the negative consequences that a lack of integration between systems can have.

In short, if we apply the Tower of Babel myth to the present day, God would punish organisations by making their systems, machines and tools speak different languages and not be able to communicate with each other, something that happened before and was solved by interoperability.

The biblical story of the Tower of Babel is therefore a clear example of why interoperability is essential.

Today, interoperability is not only a requirement for a company's internal systems, but is also essential for companies to collaborate with each other and generate synergies between organisations.


Interoperability in the cloud

Interoperability is gaining importance in the market segment that embraces cloud environments due to the growing number of information systems from different providers that must work together to share data and processes. This helps customers reduce complexity in their infrastructures, promote decision-making, and facilitate innovation in a highly competitive market. At the same time, interoperability enables valuable business connections, whether between individuals, information, or companies in a value chain.

Interoperability has been in the spotlight of businesses for years, but it is increasingly positioning itself as a more relevant and necessary element for cloud service providers in their attempt to capture a market with great potential: that of large accounts or "Enterprises."

Its potential lies in the fact that these companies often have divergent information systems from different providers and have a great need for these systems to be connected in order to work smoothly together. In this sense, interoperability between systems is crucial for businesses to work quickly, seamlessly, and with a coherent and interconnected infrastructure. Additionally, interoperability promotes the creation of more valuable business connections while fostering innovation and decision-making.

In general, interoperability has always been one of the great advantages of cloud environments and services.

When talking about interoperability, three key components must be considered: technical, legal, and business. Firstly, technical interoperability involves sharing data and connecting different systems. This is achieved through the standardization of open interfaces, interconnection services, data integration, middleware, data presentation and exchange, accessibility, and security services. Furthermore, adequate legal coverage is necessary to generate trust among developers and users. This, combined with open standards and platforms, is the only way to achieve effective interoperability. Companies that work with well-established cloud providers that guarantee interoperability benefit from delegating or sharing some of their regulatory and data protection obligations and requirements. These providers have extensive experience in standards and regulatory compliance, allowing them to securely manage their clients' most confidential data.

Lastly, business interoperability refers to a company's ability to interact with others, such as partners, customers, suppliers, and service providers, by sharing information. The optimal level of interoperability depends on the interplay between interoperability and its circumstances, as well as the extended enterprise, virtual enterprise, and enterprise subsystems.

Interoperability with Microsoft tools

Microsoft has made and continues to make far-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to foster greater interoperability, with an approach that includes interoperability in its products, collaborating with customers, partners and competitors, supporting and developing industry standards, and providing developer resources and access to Microsoft intellectual property.

For partners and developers, interoperability efforts provide access to technology and tools that help create solutions to customer needs while enhancing market opportunities. To promote this interoperability and ensure the continued attractiveness of its products to developers and customers, Microsoft is committed to designing high-volume products and conducting its business in accordance with the following principles: open connections to its products, support for industry standards and data portability.

In more detail, Microsoft is committed to establish and maintain open connections between its high-volume products and non-Microsoft products, either through external protocols or APIs, and will ensure that these connections are open for any developer to use to connect to its products. It also commits to support relevant standards in its high-volume products and to do so in a way that promotes interoperability with support for major standards, ensuring maximum compatibility and documenting any and all extensions included in its products. With regard to data portability, it is committed to designing its high-volume products and providing documentation to enable data portability by adopting industry standards, open formats and allowing a choice of default formats.

All of these considerations, while important in their own right, cannot make us forget that a business profitability model is necessary to support the interoperability ambitions of customers and suppliers, or else progress will be slow and the benefits will not come as quickly and easily as all players would like. This is because, traditionally, both platform and service providers and systems integrators have wielded the advantages of each other's intellectual property as a differentiating argument for winning customers and extracting benefits from unique application and data models, ensuring regulatory compliance if and only if their solutions and services were used, and fostering closed and exclusive relationships between the different elements of the value chain.

Therefore, in order to find the business and profitability model that supports full and easy interoperability, we also need to find relationship models between the different suppliers based on the complementarity of solutions, the economic coexistence of different developments and the search for profit in the ongoing relationship with customers rather than in the occasional opportunity to make a sale.

If a company's main source of profit is its competitive advantage in a market, let us make interoperability one of these advantages, both for suppliers and user companies, and let adaptability and data cohesion lead to increased productivity, cost savings, scalability and speed of deployment of applications that support the profitability model necessary to promote it.

How do we address interoperability in Bismart?

Our extensive experience in ETL processes, data quality, master data management, data governance, etc. gained in various Data Warehouse projects, has enabled us to successfully address the challenges of interoperability between systems in companies in different industries, such as industrial, leisure and transport.

Our combination of technologies, such as Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise (Master Data Services, Data Quality Services, Integration Services, Power BI) and our innovative Bismart methodology and solutions, make it easier to find an effective solution for most organisations.


    Data integration: ensures information integrity by transferring data between systems involved in business processes.

  • Master data management: combines and normalises master data into a single system for use by different systems.

  • Data governance: manages the entire information lifecycle based on a metadata architecture and powerful dashboards.

    Our approach reduces the need for multiple integrations and simplifies the process of integrating information between systems. It also ensures data standardisation and information integrity. Our approach to interoperability facilitates the management and reuse of master data and provides full control over integration processes. It is also 100% self-documented through metadata and easily adapts to GDPR.