As part of the release of its Magic Quadrant for On-Premises Application Integration Suites, Gartner sheds light on the state of integration, showing that many organizations are still challenged by classical use cases. Large applications like ERPs need to be integrated to unlock their full value in business processes. Legacy applications must be integrated to leverage past investments and avoid costly redevelopment. Service-oriented architecture is still the best way for organizations to deploy business processes or applications for improved flexibility. The enterprise service bus (ESB) is still the common denominator in solving these types of issues. Behind the firewall, it’s business as usual. Integration still provides great value, but the landscape is, more or less, always the same. The world is flat, with defined boundaries.
Life Beyond the Firewall
But, Gartner also tells us about integration use cases beyond the firewall. Mobile devices increasingly consume services exposed by organizations. Exposing services to mobile applications helps improve the user experience—and it provides a great source of data. The time and location from which the user (customer or employee) uses an application are extremely valuable data points that can be used to build insight about user behavior (typically in big data initiatives), as well as support contextual interactions.
Exposing services through open APIs provides a great opportunity for monetization. It also allows true collaboration between organizations, a much-needed improvement on traditional B2B exchanges. SaaS applications can be onboarded by organizations of any size to provide mature business functionalities. Additionally, social networks also provide great opportunities. Provided that users agrees to share their data, an organization cannot only extract very valuable information about them, it can also aggregate this data and create a better understanding of complete market segments. Similar to mobile data, social data can be used for insight, or in real time—a capability you might want when a negative tweet comes in. The connected devices around us will only accelerate this trend, providing both an infinite amount of data and many opportunities to provide new services. Integrating these waves of real-time data is the key to capturing those opportunities.
No Free Lunch
The opportunities that come from integration do not come for free, nor does the data to be integrated. Let’s go back to the example of mobile: Users will share their data only if they see added value. Mobile applications must provide relevant services—services that are integrated with the organization’s internal systems or those of its partners. Mobile applications need to provide a great customer experience. That means a reliable one that works as well, whether just two or two million people are using it. The challenge is that internal systems have not been designed for such use, hence the importance of integration technology and its ability to provide scalability and availability. But users also want a fresh experience that takes into account their feedback and provides something new that keeps them coming back.
Organizations that can take advantage of these opportunities and differentiate are the ones prepared to integrate their core business services, expose them across channels, and quickly onboard new technologies. For these organizations, the world is round and new territories await discovery. With the right integration technology, they have the right vehicle.
It is precisely that reason—to provide the integration technology that allows organizations to seize all opportunities—that we developed the latest version of our ESB, TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks. To its proven, yet improved, ease of use and broad capabilities, we’ve added:
- Native support for web and mobile APIs
- Openness to developers for enrichment/customizations to the platform
- Instant scalability to cope with the most challenging mobile environments