The talk around the IT water cooler is that integration costs are on track to become higher than application costs within five years, with integration becoming more complex and burdensome. But like all predictions, what can we believe? Should we start to prepare for the worst? And, most important of all, who's the one to blame for this problem?
The experts predict that integration hassles are on the horizon. Gartner predicts that:
- By 2018, more than 50% of the cost of implementing 90% of new large systems will be spent on integration
- By 2016, midsize to large companies will spend 33% more on application integration than in 2013*
Ovum also estimates that spending on integration middleware is growing at a compound growth rate of 9.1% between 2012 and 2018, reaching $17.9 billion by the end of 2018.**
Whether you come from the business or IT side of an enterprise, nobody can deny the fact that the introduction of BYOD, the strong use of the cloud and dependency on mobile and social media have all increased the load that IT systems have to bear.
In addition, organizations are increasingly focused on integrating with customers, suppliers and partners. Integrating with external systems adds to the complexity. It's only logical that connecting these disparate systems and adding the glue to make them all integrate seamlessly has to be more complex than it used to be. But does adding in these elements really create an integration Armageddon?
Ovum's Saurabh Sharma says that organizations are now realizing that cloud computing and SaaS can lead to more information silos and greater integration complexity.
"SaaS vendors claim they provide web service APIs to ease the integration between SaaS and on-premise applications but APIs alone cannot ensure seamless interaction," he says.
IBM’s Doug Clark believes that a huge amount of time is spent integrating back office applications such as ERP and finance. Maintaining and integrating these applications swallows a lot of budget and, in the future, Clark predicts that companies will eventually want to integrate ERP and finance with cloud applications.***
One thing for sure is that disparate silos of information will continue to increase, and they will become more complex and abundant with greater care needed to integrate them correctly. Added to this, mobile applications have now moved beyond handset-based systems and are now used to connect to backend databases to pull up information while a user is on the move.
Enterprises are working to integrate BYOD and cloud as well as connecting with supplier customer data. At AIMS Innovation, we've seen that they are engaging in point-to-point integration, which is quick but will only backfire on TCO, complexity and scalability. Point-to-point integration improves the speed of integration but does not provide that strong, robust information flow that's needed to keep systems connected correctly.
With applications such as Hubspot, Salesforce or Zendesk, when you grow as an organization using these products, you need to integrate these systems into your network and you want to do it fast. Many providers have out-of-the-box integrations ready. But this is a less feature-rich form of integration than ones being done by integration engines such as BizTalk, Oracle and IBM. Point-to-point integration is often a "quick-win" but the downside is that you end up with integration spaghetti. It's costly to maintain, not standardized and person dependent.
Do We Have a Solution?
Point-to-point integration will lead to integration chaos — that much is certain. Even with integration engines, the growing use of cloud, BYOD and increased data volume will also lead to integration challenges.
Microsoft and others help by introducing integration platforms as cloud services to better facilitate hybrid /cloud scenarios. They also deliver integration as a service with flexible setup and billing, reducing TCO in a pay-as-you-go model.
Solutions such as monitoring your integration platform or using smart monitoring tools will also help to alleviate this problem. Monitoring is one of the tools that can pinpoint errors and give you granular insight into how each system is functioning, how effectively applications are integrating with each other and where performance is impacted.
Whether integration will become the IT burden that exceeds application costs has yet to be seen. The reality is that it will become more complex and important to organizations and it will emerge as one of the top IT challenges along with downtime and security for enterprises going forward.
Ivar Sagemo is CEO of AIMS Innovation.
* Gartner, Predicts 2013: Application Integration
** Ovum View, Saurabh Sharma, March 1, 2013. Global integration middleware market to hit $17.9 billion by 2018
*** Information Age, December 4, 2012. Cloud brings application integration out of the shadows
Site reliability engineers are development-focused IT professionals who work on developing and implementing solutions that solve reliability, availability, and scale problems. On the other hand, DevOps engineers are ops-focused workers who solve development pipeline problems. While there is a divide between the two professions, both sets of engineers cross the gap regularly, delivering their expertise and opinions to the other side and vice versa ...
Site reliability engineering (SRE) is fast becoming an essential aspect of modern IT operations, particularly in highly scaled, big data environments. As businesses and industries shift to the digital and embrace new IT infrastructures and technologies to remain operational and competitive, the need for a new approach for IT teams to find and manage the balance between launching new systems and features and ensuring these are intuitive, reliable, and friendly for end users has intensified as well ...
The most sophisticated observability practitioners (leaders) are able to cut downtime costs by 90%, from an estimated $23.8 million annually to just $2.5 million, compared to observability beginners, according to the State of Observability 2022 from Splunk in collaboration with the Enterprise Strategy Group. What's more, leaders in observability are more innovative and more successful at achieving digital transformation outcomes and other initiatives ...
Programmatically tracked service level indicators (SLIs) are foundational to every site reliability engineering practice. When engineering teams have programmatic SLIs in place, they lessen the need to manually track performance and incident data. They're also able to reduce manual toil because our DevOps teams define the capabilities and metrics that define their SLI data, which they collect automatically — hence "programmatic" ...
Recently, a regional healthcare organization wanted to retire its legacy monitoring tools and adopt AIOps. The organization asked Windward Consulting to implement an AIOps strategy that would help streamline its outdated and unwieldy IT system management. Our team's AIOps implementation process helped this client and can help others in the industry too. Here's what my team did ...
You've likely heard it before: every business is a digital business. However, some businesses and sectors digitize more quickly than others. Healthcare has traditionally been on the slower side of digital transformation and technology adoption, but that's changing. As healthcare organizations roll out innovations at increasing velocity, they must build a long-term strategy for how they will maintain the uptime of their critical apps and services. And there's only one tool that can ensure this continuous availability in our modern IT ecosystems. AIOps can help IT Operations teams ensure the uptime of critical apps and services ...
Between 2012 to 2015 all of the hyperscalers attempted to use the legacy APM solutions to improve their own visibility. To no avail. The problem was that none of the previous generations of APM solutions could match the scaling demand, nor could they provide interoperability due to their proprietary and exclusive agentry ...
The DevOps journey begins by understanding a team's DevOps flow and identifying precisely what tasks deliver the best return on engineers' time when automated. The rest of this blog will help DevOps team managers by outlining what jobs can — and should be automated ...
A survey from Snow Software polled more than 500 IT leaders to determine the current state of cloud infrastructure. Nearly half of the IT leaders who responded agreed that cloud was critical to operations during the pandemic with the majority deploying a hybrid cloud strategy consisting of both public and private clouds. Unsurprisingly, over the last 12 months, the majority of respondents had increased overall cloud spend — a substantial increase over the 2020 findings ...
As we all know, the drastic changes in the world have caused the workforce to take a hybrid approach over the last two years. A lot of that time, being fully remote. With the back and forth between home and office, employees need ways to stay productive and access useful information necessary to complete their daily work. The ability to obtain a holistic view of data relevant to the user and get answers to topics, no matter the worker's location, is crucial for a successful and efficient hybrid working environment ...