In recent decades, corporations across the world have become more reliant on homogenous, best-of-breed ERP platforms. The benefits of transitioning from a siloed, myriad applications landscape unable to present a ‘single source of truth’ outweighed the significant investment that ERP implementation and training required.
Rapid advancements in computing technology over the past 3-5 years however, have opened up tremendous possibilities for corporations looking to break down and renovate their monolithic, homogeneous ‘systems of record’. Best-of-breed solutions are no longer the one size fits all solution for IT enabling your organisational processes. Integration is a key modern day technology that has evolved considerably and is at the forefront of enabling transformation from a homogeneous to a heterogeneous applications landscape.
Application Integration has been around for a long while, and although not as glamorous as other modern day tech trends such as AI, ML or RPA, the fundamental benefits that the modern Integration tools and techniques offer go much further and deeper in enabling application transformation. The following business & technology trends have made pervasive Integration a core requirement of all application transformation & modernization programmes:
- Expanding organisational ecosystems; read B2B2B/B2B2C etc.
- An increase in the number of moving parts, and the interdependence between them
- The move from Apps & Infrastructure that are on premise to a Hybrid hosting model
- SaaS and PaaS solutions comprising IT landscapes in addition to classic ERP
- Hybrid hosting models necessitating an increased focus on centralised visibility & management along with security & regulatory considerations
Effectively, there is wide acceptance across organisations that the future of applications doesn’t lie in a monolithic, homogenous ERP platform. The idea of heterogeneity is taking root now more than ever, and pervasive Integration is the key to achieving this transformation.
It is projected that the next 3-5 years will see overall global spend on integration increase to tens of billions of dollars every year. A large proportion of which is likely to go towards the development of Hybrid Integration Platforms or HIPs, leading to a significant overhaul of the many building blocks that make up the overall organisational Integration capability, such as:
- Various Integration contexts the platform can handle and support
- Integration tools providing core technological capaility
- Organisational models used to manage and maintain the Integration capability
- Governance approach to Integration (e.g. Service/API Catalog management, Metadata management, Lifecycle management etc.)
- DevOps approach (i.e. Deployment, Monitoring, Security etc.)
The Integration technology marketplace is very crowded. Although competition is generally good for the consumer, having too much choice can often lead to confusion and prolonged decision cycles. Pricing and ROI are the other key factors that determine the adaptability of an integration solution. There is also a limited supply of resources who are skilled on these modern Integration tools and processes.
It is inevitable that over a period of time, there will be some consolidation within the marketplace and clear leaders will emerge. With the increase in consumer adoption, skilled technical resource availability should also improve over time. It is critical that organisations carefully consider their approach to Integration with a strategic view. Early adopters are going to have a competitive edge as they reap the benefits of a highly capable, mature, and pervasive Integration model that acts as the lynchpin for their strategic application transformation initiatives.
NTT DATA has been helping its customers globally to navigate the Integration technology landscape, and is well placed to help you overcome the Systems Integration challenges that you will face during your ERP transformation journey using a Hybrid Integration Model.