June 29, 2018

Don’t Get Hamstrung by IT Complexity, Get Any-to-Any Connectivity

Written by
John Scutz

IT complexity is the biggest barrier that hampers business outcomes for enterprises. It is caused by of haphazard adoption of technologies until it reaches critical mass. Using homegrown and manual point-to-point coding to fix IT complexity solves less than half of the problem. Despite pragmatic coding, organizations face debilitating errors and down-times during electronic data exchange. The right solution to beat back IT complexity is point-to-point connectivity.

What Causes IT Complexity?

IT complexity proliferates when organizations deploy more applications — Finance, Enterprise Resource Planning, HR — to support different aspects of business. Then more databases are added to support these applications to create individual islands of automation. Greater volumes of data are generated while transacting business with other organizations.

This data arrives in a wide variety of formats and standards native to one system but totally unknown to others, and problems expand:

  • Groups share application data with other applications of external partners.
  • Organizations use brute computing force to transform data from one format to another and push it to the backend of other business systems.
  • Developers hand-code data connections to integrate applications and send them to the testing teams.
  • The testing teams raise flags and send the codes back to the development team.

In this process of marathon cycles, developers generate a lot of spaghetti coding and integration hairballs. They develop something without knowing what other developers are creating. Ultimately, they alter the behavior of other code sets. This whole process is repeated several times for each application, which increases IT complexity.

Imagine a situation where 500 legacy applications need to be connected with other cloud based applications in an IT environment. It’s technically feasible to connect these applications with an API led point-to-point connectivity approach, but creating data connections takes several months of time and engineering resources. Manual approaches also deliver data inconsistencies and errors.

The IT teams will fight their toughest battles while eliminating multiple sources of truth and fixing data errors. All these problems will require a reckoning. For faster onboarding and data availability, organizations should rethink their existing integration strategy. Many of these problems with integration can be solved with any-to-any connectivity.

Point-to-Point Connectivity and Problems

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Cost Overheads

Although the upfront cost of point-to-point integration might seem low, it is expensive in the long run. It also looks like a lightweight solution in the beginning, but gradually it becomes unmanageable and doesn’t scale to solve integration needs. It becomes an integration hairball that causes rest of the systems to fail or collapse.

The cost expands as more systems are added to address business needs. Enterprises lose many business opportunities when they spend months of time for building only a few connections. These barriers prevent organizations from getting data from partner systems at the right time and right place.

Security Issues

Point-to-point connectivity lacks a governance mechanism to monitor and fix errors. Teams face difficulties in identifying which team member has access to which data. The more APIs created to connect applications, the more the company is exposed to threats and security breaches. Moreover, multiple sources of truth and islands of automation create confusion and rework between teams relying on accurate data.

Limited Capabilities

It’s difficult to scale point-to-point integration, and it cannot be used over again. Application rules are not transparent, and they require greater maintenance. This approach will cause teams to lag behind in harnessing more value from the data and improving business outcomes.

Downtimes

IT teams create dependencies between teams when they integrate applications with point-to-point integration approach. Whenever a system is upgraded, the connectivity also needs to be upgraded to accommodate changes. More complexity is added in the integration layer when more applications are included in the ecosystem. Requiring IT to update API connections for every upgrade can result in significant downtime.

Setting up a Future Ready IT Architecture with Any-to-any connectivity

Any-to-any connectivity helps organizations solve many unsolvable problems. Teams can get many downstream business benefits by allowing systems to work in tandem with each other and eliminating infrastructure silos. Any-to-any connectivity provides robust support to the IT architecture and addresses pervasive integration needs. Here are some advantages of the approach:

Interoperability

Integration between different infrastructure element helps teams align technologies with business objectives. Seamless integration between data formats, languages, and interface ensures greater interoperability between teams. And navigating through an unintelligible world becomes easy in few simple clicks.

Accelerated time to Revenue

With any-to-any connectivity, business teams can set up workflows for exchanging data with partners. They don’t have to wait for IT to build connections. Business teams can configure workflows and bring data from business partners all by themselves. In this way, organizations can transact faster and minimize time to revenue.

Reduced IT Cost

Costly down-times and network errors can be avoided with any-to-any integration. Business logic and business rules can be avoided in a few simple steps without any IT intervention. Users can drive business forward without any additional infrastructure investment.

IT Governance

From one single place all applications running on a hybrid IT ecosystem can be monitored and integrated. Teams can marshal, orchestrate, and govern applications and deal with new business requirements in a better way. This means that you can bring legacy ERP data into Salesforce, and reuse the data to improve processes, services, and products as per customer needs.

Data Integration

Organizations lose valuable time and money while transforming data from one format to another. Any-to-any integration allows organizations to convert data (XML, CSV, structured, and unstructured, etc.) from any format to another. Teams can access files in multiple formats without disruption and reduce business errors.

Cloud and On-premise Technology Integration

Cloud is the center around which all digital technologies revolve. Any modern day technology uses a data storage powered by cloud. Despite this overwhelming business trend, many legacy systems still remain on-premise, which are stove piped and offer limited modes of integration. Any-to-any integration can define success with cloud technology adoption. It creates an intelligent mesh for integrating cloud and legacy systems.

Factoring any-to-any connectivity in the IT system ensures lasting success from the IT investment. It enables the best path for eliminating IT complexity and making data interchanges fast and smooth.

John Scutz is a technology enthusiast at Adeptia Inc. As an active participant in the IT industry, he talks about data, integration, and how technology is helping businesses realize their potential.