Hybrid integration platforms: How cloud services can help your enterprise
For years now, enterprises have been told that cloud services are the future, offering greater flexibility, reduced costs and more efficient workflows. But for many enterprises who have invested heavily in on-premise infrastructure and systems, moving en masse to the cloud is simply not an option, due to both the cost and the disruption.
This is where a hybrid integration platform (HIP) comes in. A recent study by Research and Markets revealed that the amount of money spent on hybrid integration platforms will almost double over the space of just five years — from $17.14 billion in 2017 to $33.6 billion in 2022.
Here’s more about how a HIP works and how to more painlessly implement a hybrid integration platform in your enterprise.
What is a hybrid integration platform?
As the name suggests, a HIP combines on-premise infrastructure with a cloud-based system and connects securely using a protocol like transport layer security. The goal of an effective HIP strategy is to allow different departments to remain flexible and adaptable in order to meet changing client needs while retaining some level of central control and governance.
HIP is a bridge, allowing enterprises to connect legacy systems like servers, databases, warehouses and applications with cloud services like iSaaS, iPaaS and API management technologies that simply are not available with solely on-premise systems. Businesses can securely connect their existing services with cloud technology, creating a single platform for new applications while maintaining control of how data is shared between applications.
Not only does it allow you to remain competitive, it also means that you can create innovative solutions previously unavailable to you.
Why use a HIP?
While you may want to retain control of your data through continuing use of on-premise systems, ignoring the cloud simply is not an option if you want to remain competitive.
Cloud technology opens up a huge range of opportunities for companies to expand the number of services they offer. They also save costs by reducing the amount of hardware you have to buy and maintain.
For example, an effective HIP strategy can enable a do-it-yourself style of integration coveted by business heads, department chiefs, application teams and business users. It also introduces the possibility of self-service integration by users who are not specialists in the area.
How do you implement a HIP?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to implementing a successful HIP strategy. Each director of integration will need to assess their own business to identify exactly what is needed. After this assessment, they can formulate a capabilities framework — a sort of high-level categorization of the capabilities that an ideal comprehensive platform would provide.
For example, your business might use a combination of legacy systems (ESB, ETL, B2B gateway software or API management platforms) and may have hundreds — if not thousands — of integration flows and APIs implemented on top of them.
So rather than throwing these out completely and replacing them with iPaaS, iSaaS and API management technologies, integration directors will need to see where their systems are lacking. This will most likely be in the areas of cloud deployment, governance, API management and IoT integration support.
How do I find a cloud services solution?
HIPs are still very much an emerging technology, and while directors of integration may want to find a single solution to meet all their needs, this is unlikely. In reality, directors of integration will need to be pragmatic and pick and choose from a variety of vendors in order to get a solution they need.
For example, some iPaaS providers may deliver excellent support for cloud services integration and are usually receptive to an ad hoc integration approach. But those same providers might only have limited support for API management or application-to-application or business-to-business integration.
Similarly, vendors offering pure-play API management solutions are likely to only provide minimal integration functionalities. Because of this mix-and-match approach, enterprises are also likely to need a third-party management system that can be used to get all of these solutions working together efficiently.
As the numbers from the Research and Markets study clearly show, this technology will be increasingly important in the coming years. Sooner or later, almost all enterprises will need to face the fact that they need to integrate cloud technology into how they do business. It’s therefore important to understand what a HIP can do for your company and just how it should be implemented.