Many enterprises have adopted agile approaches for iterative and evolutionary software development. They also have incorporated integration and collaboration practices for accelerating software delivery with a focus on better customer experience and continuous delivery. However, today the volume of data has been increased and major sources of data being business software like CRM, ERP, supply chain management and finance & accounting solutions. Essentially, there is too much inaccessible data and too many software silos. This is showing that software integration is becoming a rising need in the agile world. Software integration enables these systems to synchronize this data.
Most business leaders have responded to digital transformation edges by adopting cutting-edge solutions that act with agility. However, it is significant to take a step further by embracing automated integration that goes beyond just the enterprise integration to cloud technologies. That is why iPaaS (Integrated Platform as a Service) becomes the fastest growing solution in the integration market. This blog addresses the advantages of automated integration solution (iPaaS) over traditional methods.
Where is the Traditional Integration Approach Lagging Behind?
The previous patterns of application and data integration are simple to understand. It involves extracting information from the source(s), modifying its structure and content and placing in the target system(s). Similarly, most organizations are using hand coding for integration.
Earlier, integrations were between a few departmental applications like marketing, CRM, ERP, customer support, ITSM, and HR. Hence, the integration tools were developed to solve only a small set of connectivity requirements between systems-of–a-record. However, as a part of modernization, enterprises are now innovating with the Internet of Things and mobile technologies. Therefore, as like other business activities, software integration is also in the scope of modernization.
The traditional on-premise ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) and ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) systems fail to meet the enhancing array of cloud apps. The other integration method, hand coding or manual coding is complex, costly, not reusable and difficult to manage.
Now the requirement is considerably different from what traditional software integration tools were made for, because:
- Integrations must occur in hours to days, not weeks
- The scale of integration to be performed is greater and increasing rapidly
- Integrations have to change often as business requirements evolve and the set of applications change
- Integrations require to be designed by the users along with IT members as it's the business that is driving the growth of applications
- Integrations still require being secured, governed and compliant. Else, they have just shadowed IT
The following figure depicts the two data integration solutions that are commonly used today and their bottlenecks that encourage the industries to look for modern integration solutions:
Let us dig deep into the challenges experienced with these integration approaches:
1. Lack of Reusability
One of the top shortcomings of hand coding is the cost because the custom code cannot be easily re-used. You have to continually invest in code rewrite for the same integration repeatedly. In addition, your business might have to wait for the project launch since data are unavailable.
2. Maintenance Overload
The fragile code makes a maintenance overload and requires someone to address frequent integration breaks. In addition, the custom code is not extendable and scalable. Hence, there is no flexibility in the code that is programmed for a particular objective to handle the changes in business requirements.
3. Lack of Standardization
By nature, the custom coding lacks standardization and it works on its own unique characteristics. Therefore, your developers need to engage in the planning process and manage the new demand for every custom job. Additionally, the lack of standardization sources planning and work duplication, which makes decision-makers to wait for their data.
4. Demands Right Talent
More complex and sophisticated integration processes like those that demand connecting conflicting infrastructure and workflows require deep expertise. No one affords to allow unskilled integrators to steer the extremely sophisticated integration tasks. The lack of resources with sufficient talent is another roadblock with this manual integration approach.
5. Issues in Data Security & Privacy Compliance
More than ever, security, privacy, and regulatory compliance are a major business concern. In the traditional integration approach, ensuring compliance with regulation when each time new data sources are added is a primary challenge. It is vital to choose the integration platform technology that can support you to ensure comprehensive data security as well as compliance while minimizing the scope of compliance burden.
6. ESB Encourages Costly Architecture
ESBs include multiple products, demand significant hardware resources and specialists with high experience, but they are hard as well as costly to source & maintain. ESB integrations encourage monolithic architecture that is costly to implement. In addition, this integration model can be a single-point-of-outage and single-point-of-failure, especially when upgrades are needed.
7. Doesn’t Support Cloud-Based Integration
With the adoption of SaaS and cloud-based applications, software integration requires supporting on-premise, cloud, and hybrid applications. ESBs are not designed as cloud-friendly and scalable technology; hence, it doesn’t provide unified tooling & a consistent approach to on-premise, cloud and hybrid integration. Employing traditional integration methods can block your business from experiencing the benefits of SaaS and cloud applications.
8. Lack of Innovation
The new technologies, rising consumer expectations, and business disruptors force the business to innovate and move faster. Since the approach of ESB was designed before the mobile explosion, cloud, IoT and social media, the product is not built for innovation. Additionally, ESBs were created to offer technical integration components and therefore results in low-levels of reuse as well as poor support for LoB (Line of Business) IT.
9. Fails to Support Agile Software Development
The traditional integration projects support only the waterfall SDLC methodology. They demand a long time for top-down design and when development was ongoing, it discourages the scope of changes as that could delay the final release. As such, the change request could take a long period to come through the review & approval process. In addition, this method requires additional costs and time to build deployment environments.
Why Organizations Need Automated Integration?
As businesses struggle to run with manual integration approach, it is vital to deploy new technology and software while integrating existing technology and software across the enterprise. As a result, automated integration is the vital facilitator of business agility.
With integrated automation solutions, enterprises work well with APIs that in turn delivers the digital business initiatives at scale. Without proper integration tools, enterprises become incapable to interact and govern the flow of information as well as a business process across the enterprise. Here are some of the advantages you can gain from automated integration:
How is iPaaS gaining the Momentum?
iPaaS(Integrated Platform as a Service), a cloud-based integration solution promises to solve many of the issues that enterprises have not been competent to handle cost-effectively or within the hastier demand of agile-based software development. The iPaaS services enable both the IT enterprises and professionals to develop, implement, deploy, handle, govern as well as integrate business systems & applications.
To manage your entire data arriving at high speeds from various channels in varying volumes –iPaaS is the ideal choice. Here are some of the important characteristics of the iPaaS platform:
- iPaaS simplifies processes, shaping it easier to communicate with APIs
- iPaaS reduces additional work by performing the groundwork, which enables integrations
- iPaaS allows you to switch programs in & out and ensure cost effectiveness
- iPaaS allows the end users to use the technologies they like to use to complete their jobs
Let us dig deep into some of the reasons why iPaaS is an extraordinary solution:
1. Simplifies the Process
Unlike other traditional data integration methods like ETL, ESB, point-to-point integration, iPaaS offers an easier and more direct approach to handle multi-point data integration. With 450+ connectors, it allows enterprises easily scale as well as connect to a multitude of software and databases. The table below lists the benefits of iPaaS over ESB:
The fast-paced business environment demands your IT team to deliver faster support to business requests. The manual approach for integration just does not cut it. Without the dependency on time-consuming manual coding for software integration, iPaaS helps IT move fast as well as deliver projects quickly & cost-effective. The table below depicts how iPaaS overshadows the hand coding integration technique:
3. Unlock the Value from Applications
With the features of iPaaS, enterprises can achieve low-risk on-premise system integration with the new mobile, cloud and other modern apps, conserving IT investments as well as ensuring business continuity.
4. Revolution in the API
API competencies in the iPaaS integration tools make API development & management simpler, faster and scalable. It fetches all integrations and their apps together using drag & drop capabilities with a centralized logical view of entire API connections. The centralized logical view further allows your team to configure, monitor as well as handle all repetitive tasks.
5. Low Latency from Hybrid Environments
Most businesses are doing a patchwork of the data architecture to support various workloads. A trial & error learning process, modifying business requirements & the rapid change in the evolving data lake platforms enhance the latency. iPaaS platform possesses the ability to process high volume transactions with minimum latency. This is an ideal feature for its implementation in the mobile, cloud and IoT.
6. Manage Virtual Infrastructure
iPaaS allows you to integrate flawlessly with locally hosted virtual infrastructure, or with cutting-edge cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS, Snowflake, Google Cloud, Salesforce, Cloudera Altus and more. iPaaS can be qualified for utilizing other cloud techniques with high manageability.
7. Security & Compliance
The Integrated Platform as a Service offers crucial business security like real-time intruder alerts, fraud detections, and simple-to-understand audit & reporting screens. In addition, automated integration ensures compliance with accepted industry standards like those authorized by the GDPR and the Payment Card Security Standards Councils.
iPaaS solutions have standardized most of the steps happening in building integration applications. As such, even the non-technical person can easily learn how to build and handle simple integrations. When it comes to supervising and making minor adjustments, iPaaS is more understandable for non-technical persons too.
Emerging trends in the industry are making software and data integrations more essential than ever. If you are facing issues to deal with your massive amount of data & applications and want to enhance your business result, then you should embrace flexible software integration technologies. All the emerging requirements of integration have resulted in the cutting-edge integration technique called Integration Platform as a Service.