Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Integration Is Hard

If you know me at all, you know I love services-based integration.  The whole idea of interfacing, moving and exchanging data, guided by industry standards...I'm an enthusiastic supporter.  The appeal of this idea made me an ardent supporter of Oracle's Fusion Applications.  And I still believe it's an important part of the potential for today's SaaS offerings.

So I'll share a secret with you...I really hate services-based integration.  It's hard.  Packaged integrations rarely work out of the box.  SaaS integrations are tough to implement.  Integration platforms are still in their infancy.  Data errors are frequent problems.  Documentation is either inaccurate or non-existent.  Building your own - oy!  Even simple integrations require large investments of blood, sweat, and tears.  And orchestrating service integrations into a business process...agony on a stick.  I personally believe that the toughest aspect of enterprise software is services integration.  SaaS, hybrid, on-premise, packaged applications, middleware...it does not matter, services integration is hard regardless of context.

I see SaaS integration as "hero ground":  there is nowhere to go but up, and even simple wins will create heroes.  Service integrations that really work, simple and easily understood documentation, design patterns, data templates and useable tools... I think we have a ton of work to do.  Because, even though it shouldn't be, integration is hard.


John Faucher said...

With that stated, I formally announce that I'm running for President of the United States. Sorry - I could not resist with all the recent activity in the US political environment.

I completely agree with your state of the integration ecosystem, and I say there may be an order of magnitude in the integration complexity with the more of your IT ecosystem that lives in the cloud.

I saw a recent iceberg model (that was intending to show costs) between on premise ERP systems and cloud applications ecosystems and could not help to notice that there was a missing piece under the waterline on the ongoing costs cloud computing side. Integration - As the cloud market evolves from adolescence, we will continue to see many organizations taking advantage of the cloud for segments of their ecosystem. The key word here is... segments. How do we make sure we are achieving the operational efficiency, which is part and parcel to cloud computing, during this evolutionary phase? Strategic, concise, focused, and flexible integration between the ever expanding components of the ecosystem that fulfills the promises of cost savings - that's how! Remember the "internet of things" .. your ecosystem expands as you move towards the cloud - don't forget to address the integration aspect. I'm not talking bubble gum and rubber bands, I'm talking about integration that is part and parcel to operational efficiency.

Thank you for your support,

John Faucher

fteter said...

And you'll get my vote, John.