The rise of integration tools and products (and their associated marketing efforts) has changed the way businesses look at their integration architecture and solutions. In some cases, implementing a full-scale tool makes sense, particularly for bigger and more complex connections and dynamic or frequently changing processes. In other instances, however, these tools are simply obscuring a simpler and cleaner way of connecting endpoints: point-to-point integration.
What is point-to-point? Gartner defines point-to-point as “…a tightly coupled integration between two or more endpoints.” In other words, a designated integration between two sources (for example, Salesforce and an ERP system), with a single transform of data in the process. Point-to-point is considered the simplest form of integration, and its popularity is growing, in large part due to the increased ease of access to APIs:
“By 2021, due to the ease of adopting the technique, the number of organizations planning to use point-to-point integration will rise to 80% from 55% in 2016.” – Gartner
When to Use Point-to-Point Integration
Given that point-to-point integration is a simple and efficient way to better connect your lines of business, it’s no surprise that its usage is gaining in popularity. However, businesses must evaluate carefully where and how they implement a point-to-point connection. Consider some of the top reasons companies are approaching point-to-point cloud integration:
- Coding to APIs
- Accessing embedded features of a Cloud service
- Using point-to-point adapters or connectors
Coding to APIs: Point-to-point integration solutions make sense for API access, generally in cases where developers are able to quickly complete the code. It’s also important that these integrations can be easily be modified and deployed again in the event that changes are needed. The capability of developers and their ability to build these integrations is key in making agile changes when coding the point-to-point integration – so businesses lacking a robust development team may want to consider outsourcing these integrations to a full development team.
Embedded Features In Cloud Services: For businesses looking to connect SaaS applications, point-to-point is a powerful integration solution for mapping directly from one system to another. Many SaaS applications will include their own integration tools provided by the vendor, allowing the customer to configure point-to-point integrations. These are easier to change without a full development team, and as such may be a more attractive option for dynamic workloads. However, customers with major ERP systems subject to change should take care to not create a vast web of point-to-point connections to SaaS, unless implementing it as a temporary solution, or if their integration solution is unlikely to become more complex in the future.
Point-to-Point Adapters or Connectors: This integration method involves using a platform that connects to the endpoint systems, similar to those found in popular commercial integration tools. The main difference in this option is the centrality of the system, allowing for all point-to-point connections to be configured in a single location, rather than in each individual application they are connecting. This is an excellent choice when the main business goals are productivity and visibility, as it provides a central monitoring system for each connection.
When considering an integration strategy, don’t overlook point-to-point connections. While they may not fit into every situation (here’s how to tell), the proper architecture plan and implementation can often bring a cleaner solution than full-scale platforms.
For more on this topic, check out this infographic for a visual understanding of point-to-point integration for completing hybrid architectures.