From the Blog

An icon for a calendar

2020-10-01

Leveraging Hybrid Integration Platform to Get Digital Transformation Right

In a digital world, technology has become the backbone of every business. Take a look under the IT hood at practically any company today and you’ll see umpteen systems, applications, and technologies that keep the entire business ticking over from frontend to back. Back in the day, these technologies stayed isolated from one another, or at best may be linked in a point-to-point fashion. In today times, however, where digital transformation has become an inevitable truth and CIOs and IT professionals are tasked with creating myriad systems and different apps that work in unison, relying on conventional strategies like point-to-point can be counterproductive. Due to the competitive pressures that have been heightened by digital transformation trends, a modern integration strategy is the only way organizations can gain a 30,000-foot big picture view that they need.

Organizations need to manage scores of applications, systems, and the data they generate if they want to realize value from these investments and not fall behind their competitors. To put it another way, business users must break through silos for the modern enterprise to excel in the digital landscape. And to do that, they need a well-planned integration strategy.

Digital Transformation Isn’t Possible without “Right” Integration

Gone are the days when an organization could integrate their applications, systems, and data with a centrally-owned technology suite. Today, units whether manufacturing or finance – and their separate departments – must rely on platforms to execute their own business strategies. HubSpot explains, “With a platform as the foundation of your business ecosystem, you don’t have to limit yourself to one suite of products — you can add and subtract new applications and tools as your business grows and changes, without having to start from scratch again or deal with messy migrations.

However, despite leveraging modern platforms for creating integrations, your transformation efforts can fail to reap dividends if a point-to-point approach is used. Traditional, point-to-point integration architectures cannot match up with the speed and volume of integrations companies will need to digitally transform. Modern integration solutions must address the pervasive integration challenges with the ability to deliver speed, flexibility, security, and scalability.

It’s self-evident that complexity and change are the by-products of digital transformation.

A company on a digital transformation journey is expected to deal with a steep rise in data volume and velocity stemming from multiple endpoints. Handling this level of complexity with a traditional point-to-point approach will not allow companies to deliver competitively advantageous business insights and achieve optimal business outcomes.

Gartner compares digital transformation with the efforts of upgrading to a dream car. Though the attention is mainly on the vehicle’s sleek aesthetics, high speeds, and aerodynamics, we often fail to look under the hood. “Looking under the hood is a vital step for application leaders delivering digital transformation. They must focus on more than potential increases in agility, profitability and new revenue streams”, says Gartner. “Behind these top-level improvements is the vital integration work that binds different technology initiatives together, making the collective output – or business outcomes – greater than the sum of its parts.”

Simply put, companies need to rely on an integration solution that helps them streamline their digital transformation initiatives by supporting multiple hybrid structures as well as proliferating end-points – and avoid making pig’s ear of existing processes by throwing technologies and applications into the mix.

Hybrid Integration Platform Is Your Best Choice

The integration strategy of any companies must not only focus on supporting efficiency but also aim at agility, innovation and business insights requirements. In doing so, they must revamp their integration strategy by moving from a discrete array of task-specific tools owned and managed by different teams to an integrated set of functionalities. For their initiatives to become successful, they also need to reinvent their delivery model. Hybrid integration platform plays a significant role here.

Companies can adopt an HIP-enabled self-service approach to integration to multiply efficiency, agility, and innovations while empowering business users to drive the business forward. With enterprise-focused competencies ranging such as prebuilt workflow templates, connectors, AI-assisted data mapping capabilities, and more, users can create integrations without external support – at speed and scale.The impact of this disruptive approach is such that “by 2020, at least 65% of large organizations will have implemented a hybrid integration platform”, says Massimo Pezzini, research vice president and Gartner fellow.

Despite multiple benefits, if you don’t have a plan in place, capitalizing on hybrid integration platforms can be tricky. Here are some steps laid out by Pezzini that can help you leverage HIP for driving your digital transformation initiatives.

  1. Address all four dimensions, integration personas, integration domains, endpoints, and deployment & operating modelsof the HIP capability framework — not just the deployment model — when designing your integration platform strategy to meet your organization’s evolving requirements.
  2. Evade the risk of a redundant integration technology portfolio, bydeveloping a strategy (short-term, long-term, mid-term) based on your organization’s digital ambitions.
  3. Once these requirements are articulated, you must decide which aspects of the HIP capability framework you will have to support. This will allow you to have your needs met even when new requirements emerge, or new integration technology appears in the market.
  4. Implement your target HIP by cherry-picking and garnering the combinations of cloud-native and on-premises integration and governance technologies that best meet your needs. Don’t assume that adopting a single HIP vendor strategy is the optimal approach. The key is to adopt a combination of building blocks from different vendors and implement them stepwise based on various business priorities, available skills and allocated budget.

Conclusion

The point-to-point approach of integration, due to its inherent complexities, slows down the wheel of progress and transformation. Applications leaders must incrementally move to a HIP-inspired infrastructure that not only supports hybrid deployment models but also proliferating endpoints to drive transformation projects forward in a positive way.