How Your Organization Can Avoid An IT Integration Debacle

Forbes OracleVoice, 02/09/2015

Q&A with Oracle Senior Vice President Amit Zavery

Cloud and mobile technologies have created vast new opportunities for companies to respond to business dynamics more quickly than ever. Companies making the best use of these new technologies can gain a significant advantage over their competitors.

But there’s also a new challenge in integrating these new technologies into an existing infrastructure that was, in many cases, developed before these technologies existed—indeed, before the internet itself existed.

According to a recent study of more than 1,300 business leaders by Dynamic Markets, one out of two companies have abandoned their cloud software as a service applications in the last three years due to integration problems. Essentially, running a non-integrated architecture creates significant problems in today’s always-on business environment, and organizations will have a very difficult time remaining competitive. IT integration is key.

We asked Oracle Senior Vice President of Development Amit Zavery to discuss the challenges of integrating these new technologies, and what business leaders should consider before green-lighting an integration project.

It seems like integration is a big topic of conversation once again. What’s going on?

Well, the proliferation of cloud and mobile technologies are putting new pressures on IT departments. Businesses are asking their IT departments to help them deliver a seamless customer experience, and while these new technologies are helping in this effort, they have also added complexity because they require massive integration efforts.

Making things more complicated, there is now a wide range of disparate, customized, and third-party applications that often don’t adhere to standards and introduce yet another a layer of complexity. On top of this, companies try to implement “quick and easy” one-off integrations between specific applications, which isn’t a scalable approach.

So what do organizations need to keep in mind as they plan for cloud and on-premises integration projects?

Organizations need to be acutely aware of the kind of interfaces that applications in the cloud provide. They need to make sure that the solution they’re using for executing integration between SaaS applications and on-premises applications can provide all the technological capabilities they need and can support web services, APIs, interfaces, and the ability to extend integrations.

How do mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) fit in?

Information and data are proliferating from an ever-growing number of devices. Organizations need an approach to integration that can make sense of data, information, and events from these various sources, and then take a specific action based on the rules or processes that have been set up for that particular business role. This is critical.

IoT is all about needing to process and make sense of information in real time. As a result, organizations can embrace IoT only if they have an integration strategy that is optimized to handle information emanating from disparate systems and devices quickly. This is also true when it comes to mobile. Organizations are increasingly exposing their APIs and endpoints in order to capitalize on new business opportunities, but having a separate integration strategy for IoT and mobile, as well as B2B, API management, data services and events, is far too costly and resource-heavy. There needs to be a single, underlying strategy in play.

These new data sources and the data deluge is only going to continue. The more complex the end points become, the more complex the applications will get, and the faster the flow of information will be. It’s critical that organizations have an IT architecture that can scale and can process millions of events per second, and be able to prioritize events that are most mission-critical in real time.

How have integration projects changed over time?

Standardized integration platforms and new and emerging industry standards are driving down the cost of integration projects. Ten years ago, an integration project involved an army of consultants and a mix of custom technology, and would take months or years to come to fruition. These new standards have helped reduce the time and number of people and resources required because so much can be automated.

The implications of a poorly implemented integration strategy can be devastating for the business. For example, if your business is leveraging multiple applications that don’t work well together, or the data and information produced by these applications doesn’t flow easily or in real-time, your business won’t be as efficient or agile as it could be, and business opportunities will be missed. You won’t be able to gain visibility into what customers are buying, where products are in the supply chain, and when customers actually receive their shipments.

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