While digital transformation and legacy application modernisation have been front of mind for most business leaders for some time, the same can’t be said for integration. Developers have been left using out-of-date tools or creating custom code, which reduced productivity and increased overall development costs. Moreover, until recently, integration has been a specialist domain requiring unique software and training. However, as businesses have begun to exercise more control over technology decision-making, integration has come to the forefront. The following key changes have forced the role of integration to be reconsidered:
- The cloud – the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to shift their business models and rapidly adopt cloud technologies. With remote working being integral to business continuity, they had to reconsider their approach to integration.
- Customer expectations – as digital experiences have become the norm, customer expectations have risen exponentially. Customers expect up-to-date information, automation and new features at their fingertips. To create a seamless experience and deliver on these expectations, integration software is critical.
- API dependency – modern applications deliver services that are accessible via APIs, which need to be managed, secured and governed. API integration is fundamental to support modern application development and to ensure automation is seamless and reliable.
- Development complexity – integration platforms enable developers to reduce development complexity. They do this by using no-code tools, visual development, libraries with pre-built connectors and integrated security.
It’s now accepted that integration is key to digital transformation and modernisation efforts. Businesses have come to realise that to digitally transform and modernise their applications and infrastructure, they most also modernise their approach to integration. Only in doing this can they achieve the scale and speed needed to meet customer expectations and remain competitive.
What is iPaas?
Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is a suite of cloud services that enable the development and governance of integration flows. The integration services can connect any number of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services and applications within an organisation or, indeed, across multiple organisations. As such, iPaaS offers some significant business benefits:
- Increased speed to market – speeding up the delivery of new features is a top driver for adopting an iPaaS tool and is helped by codeless and visual development capabilities.
- AI and automation – integration is an enabler of process automation and works to unlock AI capabilities. Automation is often triggered by events but true process automation can’t be achieved without connected data and applications. Meanwhile, it’s necessary to aggregate data from siloed applications to train AI models.
- Improved security and governance – reliable and safe connectivity is fundamental, especially considering the fact that data is growing faster in the cloud than on-premises. There is a distinct need to create a cloud-centric approach to data protection and integration capabilities are key.
- Cost optimisation – integration services allow customers to sign up for the services they need when they need them. This means that developer resources are used more effectively and there is cost transparency and scalability.
How to Evaluate Integration Tools
As organisations adopt a cloud or assets running in the cloud, integration becomes vital to enable capabilities that improve the speed of cloud adoption. However, selecting new tools can be a challenging task as they often set the path for digital transformation both in the short and long term. As such, it’s important for iPaaS solutions to be considered as part of an overall cloud strategy. When considering different integration tools, businesses should look for:
- Reduced need for custom code
- A library of customisable APIs and connectors
- Sophisticated capabilities out-of-the-box
- Support from integration vendors and regular new releases
- A flexible approach with a combination of codeless and custom code development capabilities
- Discovery and monitoring capabilities to enable governance
- Ability to leverage existing developer skill sets
All these factors impact the benefit realisation of potential integration tools. Organisations that consider these factors have a more successful selection process, stronger adoption and increased return on investment.
Microsoft Azure Integration Service as an iPaaS
The Azure Integration Services suite provides a comprehensive set of integrations that can be used standalone or in combination to help modernise integration and support transformation. With Azure, you can securely connect applications, systems and data in the cloud, on-premises and at the edge. The service offers over 600 out-of-the-box connectors, scalable workflows and comes with other Azure services such as Azure API Management, Azure Logic Apps and Azure Service Bus. With Azure Integration Services, you can modernise your business integrations, ensure security and governance, benefit from low-code business-process automation and pay for everything as you need it. In fact, Azure Integration Services offer some distinct benefits:
- Improved productivity – with out-of-the-box connectors and Azure API management, developers can quickly automate business processes, scale applications, manage workflows and create modern customer experiences.
- Increased revenue – by integrating and sharing applications and data throughout the business with external partners and developers, Azure can help streamline collaboration, drive innovation and increase revenue.
- Enhanced security – Azure Integration Services helps you to protect your applications and data, delivering a high level of performance and availability. Workloads can be secured quickly with built-in controls and services for identity, data, networking and more.
- Reduced costs – with Azure, you can choose the integration capabilities that meet your business requirements, estimate the total cost of ownership of all your Azure products and then scale the solutions based on changing business needs.
Azure Integration Services has the power to form a key part of the enterprise modernisation journey. Azure customers can mix different services based on the problems they need to solve and their unique integration challenges. As one of the largest vendors, Azure is there to support businesses and developers alike.
Could Your Business Benefit From Azure Integration Services?
As the move to the cloud continues, cloud integration will exceed traditional software integration. So, it’s no surprise that business leaders and developers alike are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of modern iPaaS tools like Axure. Additional benefits are unlocked when businesses prioritise services that are easy to use, prioritise security and … process automation.
While the growth of cloud computing is clear, there will continue to be a coexistence of cloud, on-premises and edge infrastructure for quite some time yet. Therefore, enterprises need to look for integration platforms that offer broad infrastructure coverage. Only then can they achieve the combined benefits of cost-effectiveness, speed to market and security.