March 7, 2018

Digital Transformation from a System Integration Perspective

BY :     March 7, 2018

Monolithic systems are not capable of meeting the needs of digital organizations, creating the need to interconnect existing and new data sources. Traditional platforms do but are generally slow. Sharing my thoughts on delivering successful digital transformation with the help of smart integration.

In most cases when an organization goes through digital transformation, one of the vital parts includes collecting data from many data sources. The data is then distributed to various destinations. It may also be stored and processed before distribution. Successful digital transformation also requires the ability to scale and change fast.

In my opinion, integrations are a vital part of digital transformation as integrations help:

  • Collecting data from multiple data sources
  • Distributing data to several destinations for different purposes
  • Enable communication between different applications or organizations that do not support direct communication
  • Transform and enrich data
  • Handling large quantities of data
  • Guarantee delivery of critical data

Traditional integration platforms are powerful when building integrations, covering all points above. However, things often get complex. In order to build stable and, well-functioning applications both developers and testers need platform-specific experience. Not mentioning operations, administrating installation and applications.

If an organization has invested in a traditional integration platform, it is probably a strategic decision. There may be business critical integrations that are best suited for hosting an established reliable platform. There may be restrictions on law regarding information handled in the integrations that prevent an organization from building integrations in Azure.

Modern integrations platforms – fast track to digital transformation
Azure integrations are much easier to build and manage, compared to traditional integration platforms. In most cases (if built in an intelligent way) the Azure alternative is also cheaper. Azure provides a fairly robust Integration Platform, covering most areas as traditional integration platforms.
Building integrations in Azure do not require resources with special competence like traditional integration platforms do.

It was stated a few years ago that in Sweden there is about 50 000.Net developers! Having said that I don’t mean that any.Net developer is skilled to build integrations, but there certainly are more resources available for building integrations in Azure then in traditional integration platforms.

What does your integration plan look like?
To meet the demands associated with digital transformation you need to have a plan for integration as part of the overall transformation. Traditionally integrations have been built in various projects and not always been part of an overall strategic plan.

A few points worth considering:

  • What requirements exist regarding data?
  • How do new integrations fit into the picture of existing applications and integrations?
  • What are the main skills of developers (if any) in the organization?
  • How fast does the organization change?
  • Is there a strategy? Moving to Azure?
  • Is there a plan for how integrations will be built and managed?

Both traditional integration platforms and Azure integrations have functionality covering the needs of digital transformation, however, Azure is best suited for the future digital economy. Azure is better adapted for rapid change and generally have a shorter time to delivery compared to traditional platforms.

Still, there is a need for strategy and planning! Planning for Azure integrations includes the same issues as planning for any platform.

To sum up, integration architecture is not driven by technology. Architecture is driven by requirements based on business needs. Rest assured that smart integration with a modern platform as a basis, and a clear integration plan connected to your business needs, will definitely speed up your digital transformation. Not using the power of integration in a structured way is a pure waste of time and money.

Liselotte Ortlund

About

Liselotte started her professional life as a truck driver, I became interested in technology and mechanics in my early teens. But it was not until her late twenties that she started studying computer science, which was the best choice of her life!

More on Liselotte Ortlund.

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    *Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Sogeti Group