by Tony Harris
• February 9, 2021
In order to gain an advantage over their competitors and improve customer experience, organizations of all sizes and industries are using new technologies to undergo digital transformation. According to IT research and advisory firm Gartner, 87 percent of senior business leaders say that digital modernization of their company is a top priority. An emerging theme of many digital transformations relates to ‘application integration’ – but why do these have such a close association?
With so many tools and techniques for digital transformations, businesses need a way to integrate them all, establishing real-time connectivity among their entire IT ecosystem. In this article, we’ll discuss a few ways how organizations can perform application integrations along their digital transformation journey.
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According to RightScale’s 2019 “State of the Cloud” survey, 94 percent of companies use the cloud in some form or fashion. Cloud computing is currently at a crossroads, as organizations try to unify and integrate the cloud with their on-premise legacy systems.
Some businesses have chosen a hybrid cloud integration solution that combines their existing on-premises resources with their SaaS (software as a service) and databases in the cloud. These hybrid arrangements may be more permanent, or only temporary as businesses plan to lift and shift their on-premises IT systems into the cloud. Organizations that opt for this hybrid model need to address challenges such as maintaining data consistency, managing user access, and optimizing business processes across the cloud and on-premises.
Application programming interfaces are a crucial component of application integration, enabling disparate software and services to easily exchange information through a pre-defined communication standard. Building an API creates a user-friendly abstraction over the technically challenging feat of application integration. An API-focused business strategy also enables new software architectures such as microservices that improve an application’s scalability.
For larger enterprises, a good API management solution is essential. There are two main alternatives: an ESB (enterprise service bus), or an iPaaS (integration platform as a service). ESBs are typically good for complex integrations, while iPaaS tools are usually more lightweight, cost-effective, and user-friendly. DreamFactory, for example, is an open-source iPaaS solution that can run both on-premises and in the cloud, automatically generating REST APIs within minutes in order to expose data from your data sources, web apps, and cloud software.
Businesses are collecting more information from a wider variety of data sources than ever before. However, this information is often located within business silos, i.e., data repositories that are only accessible to a single individual, team, or department (whether deliberately or unintentionally).
For the most efficient processing and analysis, business silos must be broken down, and the data needs to be successfully integrated within a centralized location (e.g. a data warehouse or data lake). This is usually accomplished with the ETL (extract, transform, load) process, which takes data from its source, transforms it as necessary, and then loads it into the target location. A fast, performant ETL process is crucial for applications to enjoy access to the data they need.
Software application development, too, can benefit from integration strategies. CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) is a software development methodology that requires new code changes to be automatically integrated with the existing code base, before automatically being delivered to a repository (where the application can be built and deployed into production).
CI/CD is essential to practices such as DevOps, which encourages tighter cooperation between the software development and operations teams. By leveraging automation, CI/CD removes a great deal of the burden on your DevOps team, making you dramatically more efficient (and your applications more stable and less bug-free).
Cloud integrations, data integrations, CI/CD, and APIs are just a few of the integration solutions that businesses need when pursuing their digital transformation initiatives. That’s why we built DreamFactory—the fastest, easiest, and most secure way to generate digital-transformation-enabling APIs that integrate your enterprise data and applications, no matter where they’re located.
DreamFactory users enjoy features and benefits such as:
Want to see how DreamFactory’s iPaaS fits into your own integration strategy? Get in touch with our team of experts for a chat about your business needs and requirements. You can also schedule a demo of the DreamFactory platform, or sign up for your 14-day free trial.
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