Application integration, now more than ever, is a skill IT teams at any organization need to master. Companies are able to innovate because of the information that integration makes available to business processes, applications, and people across an enterprise—they have better business logic and analytics, and can make better decisions.
While integration had mostly been used to streamline business and operational processes, it is increasingly being used to ensure business awareness across multiple teams at a company. Business teams require visibility on business conditions — such as real-time performance of the sale of services and devices — while operational teams need to anticipate a peak in the load of network usage or order logistics. Similarly, compliance to service-level agreements (SLAs) or other regulations are being computed in real time to ensure the company can react to fraud situations before it’s too late.
Integration for Innovation
The availability of real-time information, combined with knowledge from analytics, allows for an anticipation of patterns leading to actionable decisions. The impact of these trends on integration is that the scalability and high-availability of the real-time integration platform are more important than ever, especially given the criticality of the information being processed. This is why integration platforms leverage the latest generation messaging platforms as well as in-memory data grids. The connectivity to new technologies, such as collaboration and analytics platforms, is essential.
On the company side, these use cases call for the ability to finally break all silos and stop considering integration for the need of a single process or business domain. The information needs to be shared and made available for business applications that may not yet exist. But, the ability of the organization to expose them with a standard format can make a difference in its ability to innovate.
Consumption is Everything
Integration is also subject to the same forces as the whole information system. When the business leaders of a company choose a customer relationship management (CRM) software as a service (SaaS) application because it took just a small upfront investment — but will not be available until many weeks — IT teams cannot respond with an integration plan that requires an investment catered more toward the applications, and does not consider the time it takes to complete different projects. In some cases, integration needs to be consumed in a new way.
Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) provides integration templates for popular applications to be configured, instead of being developed. These can be deployed in the cloud — removing the cost of infrastructure — and consumed via a subscription. This makes integration as easy to consume as the SaaS applications, and is ideal for SaaS to SaaS, or SaaS to on-premise scenarios. It is also ideal for organizations that are very distributed or have operations whose size prevents the implementation of an on-premise integration platform.
For more information, please read our latest whitepaper, “The New Integration: Application Integration in the 21st Century World of Mobile, Social, Cloud and Big Data.”