By Varada Iyengar, VP of Digital Product Engineering
Estimating the value of any IT service investment is a difficult and subjective process, even in ordinary times. In today’s rapidly shifting business environment, this problem is more acute when making investments in building a network of connected applications and related data that span various business functions across the enterprise.
The traditional business case for integration was focused on driving cost efficiency – primarily around centralized IT cost drivers (licensing, maintenance, and IT operations cost). With the rise of the API economy and Citizen Integrator, integration of applications and data has become central to driving critical business value whether around: product or service innovations; establishing unified and consistent customer experience across rapidly evolving channels; building an agile, flexible, and scalable supply chain; being proactive in managing safety and ensuring compliance; or hiring and retaining talent.
84% of IT leaders claim that their current transformational initiatives are being slowed down due to integration challenges across legacy infrastructure and systems – Mulesoft, 2019
In our digital transformation engagements with Fortune 500 clients, this plays out in a few different ways. A recurring theme of the integration challenge is the dichotomy between the application and data integration approaches and the resulting inefficiency and duplication of work and investments. IT organizations are set up based on data integration and application integration teams. This can be done through business tools like Grouparoo that can support this through the process.
Though there are architecture, technology, and platform considerations, it’s important to understand the root cause of this separation of application and data concerns. We believe this is a direct response to 20 years of integration platform landscape evolution. Enterprise data integration platforms and tools evolved from homing in on complex data transformation and batch payloads for enterprise data warehouses traditionally governed by an enterprise data warehouse/BI team.
In parallel, as enterprises consolidated legacy applications into enterprise ERP/CRM/SCM platforms, applications teams moved away from point-to-point integration into a consolidated application integration strategy centered around SOA/enterprise service bus. These platforms have homed in on establishing focused, real-time capabilities for enterprise application integration including extended B2B/EDI integration capabilities, traditionally governed by an enterprise applications team.
Convergence of Data & Application Integration
As trusted advisors to IT and engineering leaders, one of the key prerequisites we stress is verifying our clients understand the criticality of converging how they are organized to manage and govern their data, application, and ecosystem integration across their extended enterprise. Establishing a single, cross-functional integration function representing various functional domain experts and application and data engineering needs is the beginning of the journey to adopting the next generation integration platform.
Once the operating model and organization are in place, the next step is to evaluate a platform that meets all application and data integration patterns required to support the extended enterprise. Here are the top three business and technology capabilities that should be considered to future proof integration infrastructure when evaluating the next-generation hybrid integration platform:
Though headless is an architecture pattern that is traditionally associated with enterprise content management systems, over the next few years this pattern will become more prevalent across all enterprise application domains. Given the proliferation and complexity of the end points and expectations around unified and consistent user experience, separating the front-end from the back-end will become more critical to drive feature adoption and maximize the value of investments in business process automation and IT enablement. Having a next-gen integration platform that has a robust ecosystem of connectors and can enable this headless pattern for data and business logic integration will be a critical success factor.
It’s projected that by 2021, 95% of all data center traffic will come from the cloud, compared to 88% in 2016. – Cisco Global Cloud Index
Our clients continue to invest heavily in software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), making a hybrid multi-cloud environment the new normal. The proliferation of niche and focused enterprise SaaS applications along with the migration of enterprise workloads to public cloud infrastructure makes for a complex network of integration requirements. Legacy on-premise hand-coded, proprietary platform-specific integration tools cannot scale to support this network of interconnected applications and data.
Establishing a next-gen integration platform as a service not only helps untangle and connect this web of networked applications securely, but also allows for scale and evolution as the ecosystem of application and data platforms evolve.
With the rise of an “ecosystem” approach, most of our clients have some kind of API strategy in place – it is critical to connect multiple lines of business, customers, and partners to any app, process, or data, anywhere with intelligent API’s. Depending on the maturity of the API management and strategy, most tend to center around key enterprise application platforms (e.g., Salesforce, Oracle, SAP) but still rely on legacy hand-coded integration approaches to connect the rest of the satellite systems. An enterprise API management approach integrates people, processes, and services using a standards-based platform that supports REST (JSON/XML), SOAP, and OData v4 API endpoints. Service management and API management functions address the need to expose data to applications, business systems, and partners. The next-gen integration platform should support multiple connectivity approaches including service connectors, data connectors, messaging services, and file content listeners. It should also support citizen integrator in developing API’s using graphical designer approaches using BPEL, like approach and orchestration.
The Power of Paradigm
Paradigm’s Digital Product Engineering practice partners with strategic partners like Informatica to help our clients establish a roadmap for connecting business applications, data, and people to unblock integration challenges in their transformational journey.
Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services (IICS) leverage next-generation iPaaS technology, enabling you to meet the demands of data-driven digital transformation in multi-cloud, hybrid data environments. Built on a customizable, easy-to-navigate, modular microservices architecture, IICS supports business innovation with advanced integration patterns, connecting all types of data across cloud, hybrid cloud, and on-premise environments, serving both IT and business users.
Our clients trust us to implement, manage, and support Informatica’s Intelligent Cloud Services integration platform to tackle their toughest transformation.