Sunday, 15th September 2019

Why faster integration is essential for digital transformation success

Digital transformation has been rapidly moving from a conversation taking place in the boardroom to becoming a reality in recent years. According to research from IDG, 89 per cent of organisations now have plans to become digital-first operations – which comes as no surprise given society is changing at such a pace that many businesses are struggling to match. By Graham Woods, Director at W3Partnership.

Through new technologies, business leaders can better understand how their organisation is performing and use real time data to make informed decisions that benefit the bottom line.

Businesses aren’t moving as fast as the technology itself, however. IDG suggest that many organisations have been “more cautious and methodical” in their approach to digital transformation because obstacles remain in the wide-spread adoption of digital infrastructure.

Challenges faced include the need to replace legacy IT systems that are no longer fit for purpose and staff lacking the skill sets needed to do so.

Integration challenges

When it comes to driving digitalisation, and the need to integrate an ever-expanding number of databases, systems and apps, these certainly pose a major stumbling block.

Many companies are struggling with siloed data and inflexible software which offers them little room for innovation. To realise the potential of this information, we can’t have it sitting in different places. We need a connectivity layer that knits operations together seamlessly and allows departments to communicate with one another.

This allows them to share data more easily and deploy new technologies that help drive business growth. Without an effective integration platform, digital transformation projects are likely to flounder, however, due to the complexities involved – and as a result these initiatives can take months or even years to materialise.

The future is ICaaS

Despite its importance to future innovation, integration platforms often fill the typical CTO and IT team with a sense of dread. These projects have traditionally been carried out in-house, proving time-consuming and costly to complete – particularly if a specialist team needs to be hired to manage the process. That’s before you consider the consultancy and license fees you’ll need to add on top.

Businesses can remove these connectivity headaches, however by adopting the Integration Capability as a Service (ICaaS) model. A cloud-based approach that allows CTOs and enterprise architects to quickly respond to boardroom requests and consumer pressures, this is the natural next step for integration.

With business executives, customers and supply chain partners looking for ever more efficient systems and greater data visibility, the ability to integrate multiple databases and services, almost instantly, has now become a necessity. ICaaS is providing that by offering a library of tried and trusted integration adapters in the cloud that removes the need to specify and buy hardware or recruit specialists – as all coding work is complete.

Businesses are just left with the decision of what should be connected to what, which can be done via a standard API approach. This can be completed in hours, instead of months.

Business benefits

In effect this is removing those traditional roadblocks, allowing technology leaders to focus their attentions on the front and back end user experience. The speed at which ICaaS is deployed means they can also provide certainty to executive teams, who are looking for solutions to be delivered as soon as possible.

While the benefits of ICaaS are clear, the current convention is that integration should be carried out on-premise and, as such, businesses continue to take this traditional approach – despite the known obstacles and their associated costs.

This is mainly down to a lack of awareness, however. But as appreciation grows of an alternative that provides certainty rather than complexity and comes at a fraction of the cost, it will only be a matter of time before cloud-based integration platforms become the norm. This will see businesses driving digital transformation forward at pace and with confidence.

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