As companies continue to bring more internal and external data sources and services together, the demand for digital connectivity is growing exponentially.
The crucial connectivity layer, which lies at the heart of most transformation projects, is hugely important in facilitating this. Yet, as it exists below the surface, its significance often goes unappreciated by senior managers and, let’s be honest, due to its complexity it is often unloved by CTOs and lead architects too.
Many see the integration stage of a digital transformation project as one enormous headache, fraught with unknown obstacles, that will inevitably delay schedules and drain budgets.
If we were just talking about the odd connection here and there this wouldn’t be such an issue, but that’s not the modern day reality. Connectivity requests are constantly coming in from every line of business.
Take an organisation that wants full visibility over the customer journey, for example. Data will need to be sent to and from any number of management systems, including warehouse inventory, transport and logistics, order management, payment, sales and marketing, contact centres, and more – with each connection involving its own set of endpoint security and data management protocols.
Integration is still taking too long
It's not possible to maintain a single point-to-point approach when we are inundated with multiple requests and requirements. The traditional alternative has been to build an internal integration platform. Yet this is still not a quick job, nor is it cheap.
Consider the time and money a CTO will spend specifying, buying and integrating a software platform, as well as the recruitment and training of an integration team, and the requirement to set up and monitor numerous control standards to ensure the quality of that team’s actions. This is before any work takes place.
If you then encounter any complications in the integration work itself, it’s like pulling a big handbrake that stops a digital transformation project in its tracks.
When organisations are adopting a DevOps methodology in order to release new applications on a weekly or daily basis and orchestrating IT infrastructure through the cloud, this internal platform approach now seems archaic.
We can release the handbrake
We can bypass all of those internal connectivity headaches, however, by accessing integration capabilities through the cloud. Using the ‘as a service’ model, infrastructure architects can have access to tried and tested integration flows and adapters almost instantly.
When you consider the multiple benefits that this integration capability as a service (ICaaS) model delivers, they are significant:
Speed: Instead of spending months building an in-house capability, you can deploy within hours in a cloud environment. You don’t need to procure hardware and software, recruit staff, train them and then carry out the work.
When you have pre-built integration flows ready to go, all that’s left to do is configure the platform. Using a standard plug-and-play API model, you simply need to decide what talks to what.
Less resource consumption: It’s estimated that large organisations can save up to 90% of their annual integration costs using an ICaaS model – as there is no need to hire consultants, pay out salaries to specialist developers or stump up hundreds of thousands for annual software license fees.
CTOs are not confronted with a big initial lump sum using the as-a-service model either. This means that IT budgets are protected, and resources can be redistributed to front and back-end projects.
Risk removed: Building an integration platform in-house carries a huge amount of risk. You simply don’t know what hurdles you are going to come across and what delays and extra expense that will lead to. With ICaaS, you are tapping into a library of pre-built and proven integration flows and adapters.
The reality is you are simply hiring that IP, and then deploying it in a cloud environment. You’re not going to find yourself in a situation where after months you hit a major barrier. You already know it will work – and can see the evidence first hand within hours.
Given the growing quantity of digital transformation projects being pushed on CTOs, and the pressure to deliver on these against ever shortening deadlines, it’s time to reassess traditional approaches to integration.
When organisations are rolling out their infrastructure and orchestrating new builds in a cloud environment, using an in-house approach for the integration platform no longer seems sensible, nor sustainable. Surely, the future of connectivity is in the cloud.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.