If integration and data management are not already part of your technology and IT operations strategy, they soon will be. The push towards digital transformation and the adoption and consumption of lightweight microservices, advanced analytics, etc. are demanding more from today’s platforms. At the heart of today’s modernization initiatives is cloud technology. A lot of existing workloads are on-premises, and many organizations plan to retain some of those on-premises investments long term while gradually plotting a path to the cloud.
A Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP) provides a framework for laying down a comprehensive integration and data management strategy across the enterprise in the ever-evolving hybrid, multi-cloud world. It looks to bring together a cohesive set of integration and data management tools to bridge on-premises and cloud.
“The question is not if you’ll need HIP, but how soon will you need it.”–Dave Wells, Data Management Practice Director, Eckerson Group
The trend toward adoption of cloud is accelerating as organizations look to benefit from the flexibility, agility, scalability, and access to new innovations (such as advanced analytics and AI platforms) that most cloud vendors provide. As organizations look to re-architect, re-platform, or re-host some of their applications to cloud, there is the need for complexity reduction and optimization of integrations for better system performance and management. Organizations are looking to avoid the pitfalls of spaghetti, hand-coded, and file-based integrations which are not scalable or easy to maintain.
The modern enterprise landscape is evolving fast, and businesses are looking to become more efficient wherever they can, whether it be through the optimization of existing processes or adoption of better, faster, and/or simpler technologies (i.e., legacy modernization). As an example, take a customer that wants to speed up and modernize the partner onboarding process. They might be using traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and are looking to simplify EDI handling with a modern B2B gateway, or they might be considering moving to an API-based system. Or, consider organizations that are looking to modernize their on-premises enterprise data warehouses by migrating them to cloud-based data warehouses, and need the right types of cloud integration, ingestion, and data cataloging tools and connectors to effectively make the transition.
Organizations are generating data at a geometric pace and without the right tools to integrate and manage the data across various systems, things can quickly run amok. Traditional tools such as Enterprise Server Bus (ESB) might have their limitations when it comes to managing modern workloads. Complementing them with an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that works purely in a cloud environment and offers better scalability and range of integration capabilities is emerging as a better approach.
The growth in the number and types of enterprise data users – from business analysts to data scientists, as well as the emergence of different integration personas, from integration specialists, ad hoc integrators to citizen integrators, demands much more from your integration and data management platforms, from better role-based user access and governance to simple self-service capabilities. The push for standardization, simplification, and optimization of systems will only grow as the need for integration becomes more pervasive.
Step 1: Identify main needs and gaps. A good place to start when building out your HIP strategy is identifying your existing integration platforms, determining some of the core business initiatives, and identifying the technology gaps that might exist in attaining data integration and data management goals.
Many organizations might put together an Integration Strategy and Enablement Team (ISET) to do this. Chances are that you already have a team that runs ad hoc integration tasks, and this very well could be the basis for a well-defined ISET that maps out the current data and application landscape, decides what gaps exist, and makes integration and data management best practices and assets reusable across the organization.
Step 2: Select core components and building blocks. One of the driving forces behind the adoption of HIP is digital modernization. Whether an organization is adopting new technologies like cloud data warehouses or modernizing their legacy technology stack through the adoption of SaaS, your IT teams and ISET need to identify the right tools and capabilities that will support current and road-mapped use cases, whether on-premises or in the cloud.
A subset of tools and core HIP capabilities are listed below.
Image 1: A subset of tools that could comprise an organization’s HIP platform. Some tools such as iPaaS might be able to support multiple capabilities like API management, B2B etc.
Step 3: Take a phased approach to implementation
As you begin building your HIP, consider a phased implementation that looks to reuse parts of what your organization already has and complementing that with technologies such as iPaaS for new projects. The HIP may evolve over time as new requirements and projects emerge and you may simply need to test and plug-in new tools into the core framework. Of course, it helps if the different tools and technologies work in a frictionless manner, but that is seldom the case, unless the technologies share the same underlying platform.
A great way to learn more about Hybrid Integration Platform core capabilities is to attend this webinar: Hybrid Integration Platform: A Blueprint for Bridging On-Premises and Multi-Cloud Silos.
Also, make sure to download this analyst paper: A Guide to Hybrid Integration Platforms.