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What to look for in a Hybrid Integration Platform...It's as easy as A,B,C


The integration software market is changing. The significant growth in cloud application adoption coupled with the increase in mobile applications adoption is driving the need to look differently at integration in a more holistic way. Business users are able to make decisions to adopt cloud applications without considering the wider impact of the data governance and how it will impact the IT infrastructure. This is changing the buying habits, and leaving IT departments with a problem.

Furthermore, we as information consumers are looking for instant access to information, for example a sale manager looking for a full history of a key account on the way to the meeting. The age of connected devices has increased the amount of information which we have available at anytime, but it has also increased the appetite for more.

In order to help tackle common integration problems it is common for businesses of all sizes to invest in an integration platform. Selecting an Integration platform has historically been done based on different requirements - whether it is integrating external B2B trading partners, integrating Applications (A2A) or integrating cloud applications. Historically these have been seen as being three separate platforms.

The integration market is changing, we are consolidating the way in which we integrate. This has led to the birth of the Hybrid integration platform. The Hybrid integration platform is in essence a convergence of the platforms into a single offering. A true Hybrid integration platform is as easy as A, B C.

A is for Application Integration
B is for B2B Integration
C is for Cloud Integration

There is a large degree of commonality across these platforms, all of them have requirements to connect, all of them require some degree of data transformation, routing and validation of data. There are other common services that are required across all three such as the ability to orchestrate the services or processes.  The key differences are that they need to be able to scale differently with the A and C being more real-time than the B. After all, many B2B environments today are still operating based on large batches of transactions being processed as part of an end of day routine.

The key things to look for in a Hybrid platform which covers all of the A, B and C's is the ability to to be deployed in any environment - either centralised or federated and yet allow a single management/monitoring and configuration interface.

There are a number of benefits to using a Hybrid Integration platform, these include a common set of skills across multiple areas of the business. This greatly increases the number of resources which can be shared across projects, and hence derive a greater level of expertise. It also means a lower total cost of ownership - after all rather than having three separate groups of resources with different skills is more costly than having a single larger centre of excellence.

One of the biggest factors to consider in a Hybrid integration platform is that of incremental adoption, it is very hard to deliver an entire enterprise integration solution, there are many moving parts in an enterprise and selecting the right projects at the start can mean the difference between success and failure. A true Hybrid Integration platform allows its use based on a similar model to other cloud applications - SaaS based, consuming the service as you need to. This allows you to focus on selecting incremental pieces of value to the business and not be bound up by the cost of an enterprise license.

A further benefit is that you now have a single point to enable more advanced data reporting functionality, such as Business Activity Monitoring (BAM). The introduction of a common integration platform means that we can start to layer interesting services over it. Whether the data is internal, or even B2B, this allows us to find new ways to visualise information in real time.