Choosing the Right Path to Digital Transformation

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Choosing the Right Path to Digital Transformation

Should IT professionals be working with data integration and management partners? Let's see why one person thinks this is a good idea.

· Integration Zone ·
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As their companies pursue digital transformation, the IT professionals in charge of spearheading these initiatives must assess the barriers legacy technologies place in their path. They know modern data integration and management capabilities are imperative. It isn’t possible to reimagine the way enterprises use technology to deliver value to customers without the ability to securely share data and apply the information streaming in from an expanding array of devices and applications.

But many IT leaders wonder when — and how — to make the shift from technology designed 10, 20, or even 30 years ago to a data integration and management infrastructure built for the modern era. As they contend with technologies like ESB/EDI, MFT, and middleware solutions, they find it increasingly difficult to integrate cloud-based data sources, and eventually, that difficulty impedes the company’s ability to conduct business efficiently and effectively, much less deploy new digital business models and approaches.

That’s the wake-up call. As data proliferates through sources like the Internet of Things (IoT), the ability to ingest and harmonize information that arrives in a variety of formats becomes more urgent. There is also the need to handle integrations required by organizations and lines of business throughout the enterprise more quickly. In a data-driven economy, data is the currency of business. So, the question becomes not when to make the shift to a new modern infrastructure, but how. There are two approaches: in-house data integration and management or a managed services strategy.

When looking for ways to integrate data from on-premises systems and cloud applications more quickly and easily, many IT organizations turn to integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) tools to manage the task in-house, with the goal of empowering “citizen integrators” from both IT and lines of business to make integrations. iPaaS solutions may help users solve an immediate point-to-point integration problem, but they don’t address the underlying cause since they are created on the same aging technologies that are an obstacle to digital transformation.

Industry analysts define iPaaS solutions as a toolkit that enables “citizen integrators” to create integration workarounds by connecting data flows. But as new sources of data emerge, more developer resources are consumed by creating point-to-point integration solutions. And not only are developer skills becoming more scarce, but every minute developers spend on those integration projects is time they can’t devote to advancing digital transformation or other strategic initiatives.

It’s a vicious circle: company leaders enthusiastically back projects that will allow them to use new sources of data, such as efficiency initiatives driven by the IoT or innovation projects led by highly paid data scientists. But instead of saving money and creating new sources of revenue, they find themselves funding lengthy development projects. And rather than innovating, the data scientists spend the majority of their time as “data janitors” — cleaning up data and putting it in a usable format.

A DIY approach is a commitment to a never-ending to-do list of integration projects, many of which will take longer than expected and generate impatience on the part of the people who are eager to implement new business models. It’s also a commitment to managing data security and ensuring compliance with stringent data privacy regulations and frameworks in-house, and that means dealing with security and compliance factors that are always evolving and expanding.

Instead of a DIY approach, companies that are pursuing digital transformation can upgrade their infrastructure by partnering with a vendor that provides the platform and expertise to integrate and manage data. It’s an increasingly popular choice as enterprises focus on their core competencies and outsource infrastructure and expertise they don’t want to maintain in-house.

With the right partner, companies can gain reliable access to high-quality data on a secure, compliant, vendor-neutral platform that doesn’t require a commitment to a specific cloud application ecosystem. Companies that choose this option can solve their data integration and management challenges today and rely on their partner to handle evolving security issues and compliance requirements in the future.

This approach allows data scientists to flip the 80/20 script and spend most of their time pursuing innovation rather than cleaning up data. It frees in-house developers to work on digital transformation projects and other strategic initiatives rather than building data integration workarounds on an iPaaS solution. Companies that choose the right data integration and management partner can even move forward without disrupting current business operations.

Digital transformation requires an agile, scalable, and reliable data integration and management infrastructure, and IT professionals who are looking for a path to digital transformation have to find a way around legacy technologies that are holding them back. By choosing a data integration and management partner with the platform and expertise to meet today’s needs and overcome tomorrow’s challenges, IT leaders can put their companies on the path to success in a data-driven economy.

cloud-based data sources, digital transformation, information technology, integration, ipaas

Published at DZone with permission of Shabih Syed . See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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