Integration doesn’t always have to be a big, time-consuming step towards digital change. Fast and simple enterprise integration is most certainly a possibility.
In recent years, owing to a growing user base that relies on online services, companies have expanded the amount of data (as well as the types of data) they handle on a regular basis. As a result, system integration is now a mission-critical capability, which has also contributed to its rise in complexity.
This has led to the challenges of integration becoming a major theme of conversations surrounding digital transformation, making the process seem like a huge initiative that always requires utmost caution. However, this is far from being the case.
In this article, we will begin by reiterating the oft-quoted challenges of the process. Then, we will attempt to dismantle some of these preconceived notions by introducing 3 ways to implement a fast and simple enterprise integration solution.
The goal here is to encourage you to start with something more streamlined before you carry out a full-fledged integration campaign.
What are the challenges of system integration?
While integration has many benefits, it presents an equal number of challenges. Here are five of the most common challenges of integrating IT systems:
Managing different systems within the organisation
System integration must reflect the requirements of the business. This involves understanding the company’s industry and the technologies it currently has in place to run its operations. Furthermore, a business comprises multiple teams that have their own tasks. Each team uses a range of disparate applications to execute their responsibilities. The integration team must make considerations across the board to provide a unified view of the data handled by the company.
Dealing with unique integration scenarios
Handling multiple integration use cases across different internal teams and external stakeholders can be complicated. As one of the most common system integration challenges, this might force some companies to consider developing their own integrations in spite of being inefficient in the long run.
Regulating monolithic infrastructures
Many companies have monolithic architectures that use legacy applications. Owing to their simplicity, many businesses opt for monolithic applications without anticipating maintenance further down the line. This leads to a tight coupling of components within the architecture, making it harder to scale, update, and handle errors.
Finding the right teams to handle integration
Inability to acquire and retain employees with the fundamental skills to handle system integration technologies.
Mitigating risks arising due to integration
Finally, integration results in a constantly evolving digital landscape. This can create more room for the introduction of risks. Therefore, an agile approach must be followed in order to keep the time limit of integration projects short, minimising changes in the environment along with the risks.
These challenges of integrating IT systems may hinder companies from building scalable and flexible internal networks of applications that facilitate data accessibility, availability, and security. The following section will explain some ways to counteract these challenges and achieve quicker integration.
3 methods to result in a fast and simple enterprise integration
In order to lower the hurdles that integration poses, we’ve compiled three ways to execute a fast and simple enterprise integration solution.
1. Using iPaaS, no-code, and low code integration tools
To solve the low availability of specialist labour and expertise in relation to integration, businesses can opt for iPaaS, low code, or no code technologies.
Modern iPaaS technologies assist in implementing a fast and simple enterprise integration by making the process accessible to citizen integrators. Such solutions come with features that contribute to ease of use, such as a drag-and-drop functionality, reusable components, and intelligent suggestions. Furthermore, iPaaS solutions also consolidate data silos across different teams by bringing in additional capabilities such as streaming, batch, and ETL integrations.
No code and low code platforms work similarly by allowing non-IT team members to take charge of the integration process and speed up projects. They come with a variety of capabilities; for instance, they enable advanced bi-directional integrations between source and target applications through a graphical interface, enhancing user experience. No code or low code options allow users to visually integrate and automate business processes while mapping transactions.
Using no-code and iPaaS doesn’t just stop at hastening the process of integration. It also engages the company’s line of business to build better integrations. After all, technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum; its true value is unlocked when it interacts with the business.
2. Using AI-enabled automation in your integrations
Automation is a crucial way to achieve a fast and simple enterprise integration by reducing human intervention. Recent automation technologies are equipped with artificial intelligence, making the task of connecting heterogeneous applications within an organisation’s IT environment a lot easier. Furthermore, these automation tools use operational data to receive further insights into building stronger integrations between key applications.
Technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) simplifies integrations with legacy applications. Automation can also help study component dependencies through automated maps that lay out the interactions between different services and applications. Both of these advantages help dismantle and transform monolithic models of integration within organisations.
Additionally, automation can help generate object libraries for integration, which are collections of commonly used objects, rules, and processes that encourage reusability and improve efficiency in development. This is done by feeding a specific type of sample data (such as metadata from a database) to produce the objects. These auto-generated objects will then be compiled into searchable, reusable libraries that can still be readjusted by human users if they wish to do so.
Lastly, automation also plays a role in testing. AI can create intelligent API test cases that can help reveal any underlying problems with your organisation’s environment.
3. Considering a vendor solution
Although it is entirely possible to develop in-house integration capabilities, you must possess the employees and skill sets to handle the upkeep. If your company does not have a dedicated integration team in place, an in-house solution may distract your IT personnel from their core duties. On top of this, building your own solution comes with a hefty price tag for development and maintenance alike; most companies would find their budgets stretched thin by this choice.
Managed integration services empowers you to focus on your major business initiatives whilst allowing a vendor to handle the entire integration process. It requires outsourcing these tasks to specialists with industry-specific expertise, resulting in a fast and simple enterprise integration.
What benefits can I expect from a system integration vendor?
Some of the benefits of vendor integrations are as follows:
- Increased efficiency and reduced costs.
- Reduced investment in hiring and training.
- Pricing is more predictable than in-house integrations. Since most vendors operate on a subscription, it avoids the ambiguous future costs associated with in-house integrations.
- Since most vendors host integrations in the cloud, there is no need to own any integration software or hardware.
How do I choose a vendor for a fast and simple enterprise integration solution?
Before you decide on this particular integration strategy, make sure that the vendor of your choice:
- Provides upgrades to their platform at a reasonable frequency (not too sporadically or too often).
- Provides upgrades and installations that are automated to remove the need for application server synchronisation.
- Provides sufficient documentation that can help you oversee the platform for bugs and quick fixes.
- Provides a space for customer and user interactions, or more specifically, a forum to share best practices about the platform with each other.
Ultimately, you must make sure to choose a vendor who can deliver what your organisation necessitates—a vendor platform that performs well within your IT infrastructure, not just theirs.
Integration is a necessary step towards amplifying your company’s business-digital activities. While it may seem like a lengthy journey with many stages of planning, there are techniques to streamline your approach and make the process much more lightweight. A fast and simple enterprise integration solution is often one that is forward-thinking, focused on utilising the next big thing in integration to speed up what could otherwise be a sophisticated undertaking.
At Chakray, we prioritise the need for integration over anything else. If there’s anything we can help you with, feel free to contact us.