Integration projects can be expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective without a defined strategy. Building a successful data integration strategy can help you tackle some of your business’s most challenging use cases, enabling end-to-end automation across your enterprise applications and analytics platforms.
A holistic modern data integration strategy provides a clear vision of which systems to integrate, when, and how to improve your integration ROI. You can increase visibility and collaboration across your applications and databases with unified systems and processes.
Key Benefits of a Modern Data Integration Strategy
Enable Self-Service Integration
Traditionally, integration has been delivered by a centralized team that cannot keep pace with the ever-increasing and changing demands of integration. It prevents organizations from providing integration faster and in an agile fashion. Business leaders must shift from a centralized model to a collaborative or self-service delivery model to increase agility, reduce time-to-value, and fulfill the needs of growing integration use cases.
A decentralized, self-service model involves application teams, application developers, SaaS power users, and even business users in some cases. These additional integration personas deliver integrations under the supervision or guidance of a team that works as a support service for all the different personas involved in connecting various systems, databases, APIs, and more.
To support decentralized, democratized, self-service integration delivery, business leaders in charge of integration must build an effective data integration team that can help the people delivering integrations and empowers them to use emerging technologies and deliver better business outcomes.
Reduce Effort by Reusing Existing APIs
API-led integration approaches allow applications to exchange data via APIs built on the associated interfaces. These APIs play a specific role and come in all shapes and sizes. The popularity of API-led integration approaches has helped APIs proliferate, and many senior executives think that building APIs alone can solve the data integration challenges. They have failed to recognize that even though APIs do promote reuse and provide a better return on investment, there still needs to be the integration of those APIs to send the data across the interfaces.
Request/Response APIs can sometimes complicate integration design when addressing use cases such as data synchronization. For these use cases, event-driven or batch integration would be a better fit. APIs are interfaces that need to be consumed before providing any value. Many applications already provide native APIs that can be used directly, and you should only create new APIs to simplify consumption.
APIs and integration are perceived as alternative approaches. APIs enable integration by providing well-defined and documented application entry points led by integration techniques and technologies that support API implementation. They provide the data transformation and orchestration needed to implement composite APIs. Integration teams must refrain from creating new integration APIs when there are already existing APIs that can solve their challenge.
Simplify Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Integration
Executives are faced with immense pressure to build a modern data integration strategy that can tackle the demands of new integration challenges like hybrid and multi-cloud integration. This demand stems from the velocity at which many organizations adopt SaaS and other cloud services from suppliers, which may use different underlying cloud infrastructures. However, these cloud services coexist in several cases and integrate with on-premises applications and data sources.
Traditionally, organizations have addressed the hybrid and multi-cloud integration challenge using different integration platforms for other use cases. But, several vendors have now launched integration platforms that can handle a wide range of hybrid and multi-cloud use cases, including application integration, data integration, API management, and electronic data interchange integration, in the form of product suites. Business leaders should assume they will have to deal with multiple integration platforms from different providers to support all their use cases. They must enable a wide array of deployment capabilities and support a mix of hybrid and multi-cloud approaches with existing on-premises models. The hybrid integration platform capability framework can be used to incrementally build the foundational blocks required to support hybrid and multi-cloud integration challenges.
Optimize the Usage of SaaS-Embedded Integration
Many SaaS vendors have recognized that providing a range of APIs to integrate with other systems can be too complex to deliver value quickly. Therefore, they now offer integration capabilities as embedded functionality within their SaaS offerings. This enables businesses to connect to their applications and data sources rapidly. Often, these embedded integration capabilities are basic packaged integration processes that ingest data into the SaaS offering, creating potential data governance issues in the long term. But occasionally, these capabilities can rival those of full-fledged integration platforms.
SaaS customers might have a natural inclination to choose vendor-specific integrated solutions. However, it might not be optimal from a broader and overarching integration strategy standpoint. Organizations with multiple SaaS providers focus on the short-term benefits of SaaS-embedded integration capabilities. In that case, they risk facing technical and governance challenges, including a lack of integrated monitoring, management, administration, and governance. It can also lead to a duplication of skills and cost escalations. To avoid this, organizations must focus on the long-term advantages of a holistic integration approach. However, in some cases, the time-to-value benefits of SaaS-embedded integration may be highly compelling and will not be matched by the strategic approach. In this case, ensure that these embedded capabilities are fully documented and subject to the same monitoring, management, security, compliance, and governance policies enforced for other integration processes. It minimizes operational risks and helps manage the integration delivery life cycle.