Co-authored with Ruma Sanyal, Director, Hybrid Integration Platform and iPaaS.
A digital business calls for a well-connected infrastructure. Your digital transformation will fall flat, however, without a successful data and application integration strategy. Integration is challenging because there are ever-changing requirements, such as new business initiatives, technology evolution, mergers and acquisitions, competitive maneuvers, and newly minted partnerships, making it a moving target. And in the current climate, you need to support these requirements while also keeping costs under control. A cloud integration hub is designed to bring down the cost per integration, increase integration reliability, improve your IT staff efficiency, and free up resources to drive innovation. Let’s see how.
1. Stop Point-to-Point Integrations and Speed Up Time to Market
Today’s IT footprint is dynamic, with new partners, mergers and acquisitions, software and hardware upgrades, etc. Every time you add a new system, you have to integrate it with many or all of your existing applications and databases, which is time consuming, costly, and drains your IT staff. Furthermore, it slows down your projects. You need to make sure that the onboarding and offboarding of applications, databases, and subscribers and publications are quick and easy.
Let’s say there is a central government organization that wants to optimize the availability of drugs, tests, and other medical supplies to each region in the country and provide inventory insights to its centralized distribution unit. Instead of point-to-point integration, an integration hub can help simplify and streamline the gathering of raw data from multiple regions (including from hospitals, medical facilities, and nursing homes in each region) and send verified messages to the subscribed analytical tool, all at once or as and when inventory changes.
With an integration hub, you can reduce the number of connections and, commensurately, costs. It facilitates multiple publications and subscriptions of data through a self-service model, thus eliminating redundant and repetitive integration tasks. You can save a huge amount of time and effort with an integration hub by not having to integrate a new application 10 times over with 10 existing applications.
Learn how the state of Washington replaced all of their point-to-point interfaces with an integration hub, freeing their staff from having to build their own processes between two applications. The Informatica Cloud Integration Hub (CIH) has “greatly improved (their) ‘time to market’ capabilities and the speed with which (they) can deliver a working application.”
2. Eliminate Hand Coding and Increase End User Productivity
In a recent survey, results show that “on average, an analytics community spent 14% of their time finding information to complete a given task.” If it takes that long to find the data, imagine how much effort it will take to manually integrate the data! Hand coding not only brings risk and cost into your IT environment but also lowers your staff productivity. It often slows the ability of an organization to combine data sets to support the development of analytics, machine learning, and AI applications that can generate business value, ultimately hindering timely access to business insights.
Implement a self-service model of publishing and subscribing data and see how much more operationally effective your team can be. Informatica’s Cloud Integration Hub enables business users to access data with either minimal or no coding, driving data utilization and the adoption of new integrated data scenarios.
Not only does it improve a team’s productivity, it also helps to avoid lock-in by doing away with the need to hand code each integration. Learn how Humana uses Informatica CIH to reduce IT redundancy and improve speed.
3. Minimize Data Transfer Fees and API Call Charges
Many digital transformation initiatives involve cloud-based microservices and SaaS solutions that need to be integrated with core systems. Let’s take the example of a finance company that provides personalized financial advice to its customers through a mobile app. To do so, it needs access to several applications, including a personal robot assistant and everyday banking apps that run on the cloud. Each time the app requests data from the cloud apps, it generates additional API charges or data transfer fees from those cloud platforms.
One way to reduce costs is to pull that data from the cloud once, store it in a managed hub, and have all applications that need the data subscribe to that hub. This would bring down the cost per integration drastically, depending on the number of subscribers, data volume, and frequency. As companies move to hybrid and multi-cloud environments, a managed integration hub can reliably store your data at a lower cost. To understand in depth how Informatica CIH supports the need for “always-on” data, read this Grant Thornton story.
4. Optimize Network Bandwidth Utilization
At your time, on your dime! While we always strive for zero latency, at times a small trade-off can lead to huge cost savings. Say there is an analytical tool that requires human intervention or verification; in that case, delivering messages below a certain latency threshold will not bring any additional benefit. So, if a subscribing application can afford higher latency, the integration hub allows you to configure different retention periods for data. You can optimize your network bandwidth utilization and minimize resource consumption by planning and automating the integration tasks at different latencies and times. Informatica CIH enables efficient and cost-effective resource allocation, which allows the delivery of notifications to subscribers at their own pace.
5. Reduce Downtime Costs and Increase Integration Reliability
Decoupling is not a new concept. What does it mean? Very simply, in the pre-hub world, the source and target applications were connected to each other. Now, both source and target connect to the hub and communicate through the hub. So if the source goes down, its data is still available to the target because that data is stored in the hub. If the target goes down, the source can continue to publish to the hub. The source and the target are decoupled. As you can see, this eliminates single points of failure (such as an application or a data store), making your integrations much more reliable. Decoupling can drastically reduce system dependencies and lower the impact of downtime.
Informatica CIH decouples sources from their targets and holds the data in the hub, thus providing the ability for subscribers to consume the published data in case of failures. Its ability to troubleshoot integration problems faster helps to reduce downtime costs. Decoupling makes your integration much more resilient, increasing your data reliability and availability.
6. Mitigate Costs and Risks Associated With Using Unreliable Data
A centralized integration approach enhances the governance of data flowing in and out of applications and provides access to a “single source of truth.” For example, an e-commerce company might have several sources of data on consumer behavior. The success and failure of a predictive analytical tool would depend on the origin of data it feeds on. With an integration hub, you can converge all the data sources, validate information, standardize data, and then publish it for mass consumption.
Data analysts can investigate the data lineage and be assured of the data quality. With Informatica CIH, you will have visibility and control over each data flow, as well as the entire integration landscape, making it easier to troubleshoot and verify if the data is reliable and secured. You can identify, isolate, and rectify an integration flow or a data mapping without disturbing the entire system.
7. Integrate any data, from any source, to any target
It’s a multi-cloud, hybrid world, and you need to be able to integrate with multiple systems on-premises and in the cloud. On top of that, the type of data you need to manage is multifold. You’ve got structured, unstructured data, real-time vs. batch data, data coming into your firewall at high speed and/or high volume, and more. You need to be able to manage all of the above.
With Informatica CIH, you can publish data from your SaaS, PaaS, and on-premises applications and cloud/on-premises data stores at any speed or scale, near real-time or batch. You can integrate any size and kind of data. “Using (the Informatica) Cloud Integration Hub, Grant Thornton can synchronize data across traditional, on-premises applications as well as the newer cloud application, and handle the challenges of data proliferation across the organization due to volume of data and growing numbers of data sources, and data consuming products that require the data in a variety of schedules and latencies,” says Raj Khot, Associate Director of Enterprise Architecture at Grant Thornton.
At a time when companies are looking for a cost-effective and resilient cloud integration solution, Informatica Cloud Integration Hub offers unique and unprecedented ROI as a service in our industry-leading enterprise iPaaS platform. If you are using our Cloud Data Integration service, Informatica CIH should be a natural next step in your integration roadmap.