No organization, of any size, uses just one system for operational and management purposes. The challenge today is integrating different applications, both within the enterprise and with external systems. Apart from existing on-premise software, businesses now have to include web, cloud and mobile applications. As application platforms multiply, traditional integration technologies are struggling to handle the influx, and organizations are finding that managing integrations is becoming increasingly complex. As more applications are added, the more complex the integration process becomes.
What is needed are tools to make integration simpler. Tools that ensure a continuous and seamless flow of data between different applications and provide a cost-effective, scalable and reliable way of acquiring the right information at the right time to the people who need it. A new breed of integration solutions has arisen that offer the remedy required.
The proliferation of data, applications and APIs
Analysts and other independent research show that integrating data and applications is becoming a critical need in modern businesses. Information from Network World indicates that data volumes are increasing by over 50% per year, the major sources being business software. On top of that, the cloud and SaaS applications that organizations are using have dozens, if not hundreds, of APIs. Managing the proliferation of data and API connections has become a complex issue for companies. Unless addressed, there will be too much inaccessible business data, and too many data and application silos.
The problem of legacy integration
Many complex integration problems stem from the continued use of outdated legacy solutions.
One approach to integration, which still persists in many organizations, is custom-built integrations. These are typically hard-coded and require a significant depth of technical skill and a sound understanding of the technology. They are cumbersome to support, and when data formats, structures or requirements change, it is not a simple task to update the integration code.
Enterprise Service Bus
Another traditional integration solution has been the ESB (Enterprise Service Bus). This middleware technology was conceptualized in the 1990s and designed for stable, batch-oriented applications that ran behind a firewall. The need now is for an integration solution that can handle both real-time and batch integration needs, that has been built for cloud and mobile usage as well as on-premise, and can work with a variety of communication formats and protocols.
Ensuring data access between applications, or with third parties, is also a complex process. The old process of batch nightly data transfers has evolved into point-to-point interfaces, but these demand their own technical skills which can make them inflexible. Complex and costly architectures like EDI and ETL make data exchange tedious and expensive.
Today’s sophisticated and complex IT ecosystems render old-school integration tools less-than-agile in the face of cloud-based initiatives.
Modern integration approach
Gartner has commented that many CIOs have not yet recognized that their traditional integration strategies cannot cope with rapid technology innovation and the accelerated pace of business, especially since 2020. For the modern business, more streamlined technologies are needed to integrate the systems of the future – on-premise, cloud and mobile application, as well as lightweight and edge services. This will require new solutions that encourage more agile development approaches, allowing for more rapid iterations, and a reduction in the complexity of integrations.
Packaged development platforms, Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS), are becoming an accepted option for easily creating integrations in an on-premise and cloud environment. An iPaaS is used for building and deploying integrated applications, in the cloud and in the enterprise. It replaces and improves the integration provided by on-premise middleware connecting multiple in-house applications and cloud-based SaaS applications.
How iPaaS addresses new integration challenges
Because iPaaS applications are cloud-native and built with flexibility and scalability in mind, they can address modern integration challenges more easily.
Organizations are finding that there are several challenges when integrating on-premise systems and cloud applications. An iPaaS addresses these issues by providing seamless integration, maintaining security and data integrity, protecting internal systems behind the firewall, and managing communications to cater for bad signals.
As mobile and cloud apps proliferate, using an ESB becomes more complex and inflexible. Driven by the pandemic, more business applications are moving to support remote and mobile access. The best way to deliver this is by building APIs to provide real-time access to business data. But the growth of APIs raises concerns about the security of data transfers between applications. An integration platform enables systems to be streamlined for more robust and secure data flow.
Technical debt is the result of taking development shortcuts instead of doing a more thorough, usually longer, job. Like financial debt, the longer you leave paying it off, the more you pay in interest - it is a competitive disadvantage that grows over time. Organizations incur technical debt by keeping legacy systems going because it requires too much cost and effort to upgrade or replace them. However, by using an iPaaS, companies can support existing legacy IT business systems while implementing more modern systems, as well as new, agile, cloud-based software. In that way, they can reduce their technical debt burden.
Adding iPaaS to your IT architecture
Increasingly, a business system architecture is composed of a combination of monolithic applications and other loosely connected applications either on-premise or in the cloud. Synatic's iPaaS can support these complex IT systems and architectures with greater flexibility, at a lower cost, and better scalability than the traditional service bus applications.
Typically, developers work with Synatic's platform to develop, orchestrate and deploy integration flows. But what if you don't have staff available? With Synatic's Software-with-a-Service (SwaS), customers can focus on other issues while we take care of the integration project.
As organizations become more digital, applications will interact not just with other software but also with people, intelligent devices, and ever-larger volumes of data. With a modern integration platform, CIOs can enhance the value and usefulness of their data assets.