Why knowledge is power when it comes to integration
The ‘whys and wherefores’ of integration are well established. But even then, there’s integration and integration.
As data becomes more distributed, integrating large volumes of data from different sources, in disparate formats, and on a legacy system is a significant roadblock. In an age where it’s generally accepted that the average business transaction now crosses 35 different back-end systems, cost-effective and seamless integration is now a must-have, not a nice-to-have, for any organisation. Not only does it help ‘get things done’ in the most practical terms, but it drives more value from the systems you have in place.
And there’s an even bigger picture. Current research says that while 97% of organisations plan to undertake digital transformation initiatives, 84% will be held back by integration challenges. Meaning that removing the barriers around data and making it accessible is now business critical, as is providing the ability to automate repetitive tasks that contribute to general resource busyness but not the business’s bottom line.
While your integration platform should largely do what it says on the packet, the small print makes a difference. For example, does your platform use a proprietary (rather than generic) logic in a proprietary development language? If so, every integration problem you have will begin and end with a unique construct requiring ongoing attention. And to do this cost-effectively, you need to attract, afford, recruit, and retain the in-house people you need to develop and support it.
And then, does your integration layer provide full visibility – from transactional insights to usage? How confident are you that when the CEO questions the accuracy of the data pulled into their reports, can you deliver an unequivocal assurance that ‘yes, all is well’? I.e., would you stake your professional reputation on it? Can you see if everything is working as it should and that if there is a point of failure, you - or better still, the integration owner - know about it, pronto?
If you’re like most CIOs, you hanker for insights on percentages of successes and failures, establishing where faults lie, and pinpointing and attributing spikes in data usage so you can control costs. Knowledge – and real-time answers to stakeholder questions – equals power.
Without a cloud-native integration layer or modern middleware, those tricky questions are more difficult to answer (and therefore to resolve), and development resources are harder to find and afford. While integration should help reduce your technical debt, without a single pane of glass of the value being delivered, it’s hard to measure the ROI of your investment in an age when accountability counts.