Integration 2018 Surprises and 2019 Predictions
Integration continues to grow in importance and simplicity.
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Microsoft’s acquisition of Github was certainly a surprise. Some worry about what this means for the open source community, while others are happy to have Microsoft’s strength in platform solutions make up for Github’s lack of continuous integration/delivery and DevOps back end.
No doubt the biggest event for integration in 2018 was the acquisition of Mulesoft by Salesforce. I can’t say I’m surprised that Salesforce has made a move into this space given the opportunity to more effectively connect CRM with leading ERP systems, but also to address the disconnected nature of their various "clouds." What I am surprised by is the price paid, and multiple that it represents. We’re definitely living in a valuation bubble, but this was a big windfall, especially given the growing losses Mulesoft was racking up.
Salesforce buys Mulesoft. It is still early to say what will become of this 6.5B$ acquisition, but it definitely sent shockwaves throughout the enterprise integration space.
Broad API and Developer tools support at the platform level is the priority for 2019. The exception is not the rule. Integration requires more, not specific, technologies.
Again, self-service is going to be the new theme. With the ease and security of REST APIs, users are going to begin designing solutions to their own problems and start to perform their own integrations, with minimal IT involvement.
From machine-generated code to autonomous software development, 2019 will see an increased focus on delivery and a decreased emphasis on the art of programming. As software development continues to rise in relevance across industries, non-traditional developers — and even non-developers — will be able to handle integration with an ever-growing toolkit.
Enterprise accelerates adoption of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) Businesses will look to further accelerate their infrastructure implementations — the cloud was the catalyst of that process, and managed services will continue the acceleration into 2019. As businesses also begin to accept app-centric workloads as a service offering, Infrastructure as a Service will gain significant momentum.
Companies will realize the need to up their game in how they provide support in their mobile apps.
Quality of service needs to become a priority. Most mobile apps today have poor customer support. It’s a very dated concept to present a default phone dialer that pushes the customer outside of your mobile app. When a customer is in your app, you have access to a wealth of information about them. It is particularly crucial for connected devices (e.g., Nest, Noon, Fitbit) and on-demand services such as food and grocery delivery to provide in-app support. Support solutions need to leverage available customer data to streamline information exchange and resolve disappointing experiences where customers feel their time and effort are wasted providing answers to a company that should already have access to their information.
Context-aware solutions maximize what we know about a user. The recipe for achieving delightful end-user support experiences are to minimize average support session durations and maximize agent effectiveness. In-depth awareness of end-user context is becoming an increasingly important ingredient. This requires the ability to evaluate key available customer data and detect specific context patterns in real time, at any given point in time. The way to optimize the end user experience is to enable the contact center to assess a customer’s current context, for an expanding set of scenarios, and to leverage that intelligently in support. We see this evolving relatively quickly into a standard end-user expectation over the next few years.
I expect to see more M&A activity in the space, both in terms of the mega-vendors bolstering their offerings, as well as a consolidation across the citizen integration, enterprise integration, and process automation markets.”
We are witnessing an industry shift in which separate markets for API management solutions and integration solutions are converging — and this is setting off a string of acquisitions on both sides of the fence. I believe we will see more API management vendors and pure-play integration vendors merge or get acquired — or at the very least create partnerships that ensure all their customers have access to API management solutions and integration solutions that are somehow combined together.
The fundamental driver behind this trend is that APIs are there to deliver data and that data sits in a myriad of systems. We’ve already seen the start of this trend with Google, Apigee, and Informatica. After acquiring Apigee, which focused on API management, Google realized that it needed a more comprehensive solution to truly extract value from connectivity. They announced a partnership with Informatica, which focused on integration, to embed its capabilities directly in Apigee’s product.
This reinforces something we’ve known for years, which is that connectivity solutions need to have API lifecycle and enterprise integration working seamlessly together in a single platform. The market as a whole is increasingly recognizing this, and I think we will see more vendors who stayed in either the API management or integration market, such as Tibco Mashery, CA Technologies, and smaller players like Kong, look for partners or acquisitions on the other side. It will be interesting what we end up with as this trend continues to accelerate.
In 2019, we’ll see more and more systems be intent-based, and see a new programming model take hold: a declarative one. In this model, we declare an intent — a desired goal or end state — and the software systems in an application network autonomously figure out how to simply “make it so.” This is the future of software, and that future has already started in modern, massively distributed cloud computing systems such as Google’s Kubernetes and its rich ecosystem; in the way we easily plug in and out reusable applications, data, and devices in application networks; in autonomous vehicles, both terrestrial and aerial; and, of course, in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are seeping into every layer of our increasingly digital world.
APIs will be one of best revenue enablers for both companies and hackers. Businesses are getting savvy about how to monetize their data. They are using their “big data investments” from past years to finally create new revenue streams by anonymizing and selling their proprietary data to other business partners and third-parties. Securing APIs with authentication and encryption are the modern mechanisms to share data globally. However, in 2018, there were over a dozen big businesses making headlines from data breaches where their APIs were hacked and sensitive customer data was stolen. The trend of more APIs will continue to generate new revenue streams but also more headlines of data breaches.
Legacy systems will get a new lease on life. In many established organizations, legacy systems continue to underpin critical operations, but hold the business back from keeping up with new generations of legacy-free competitors. Our Connectivity Benchmark Report 2018 revealed that 42 percent of organizations cite legacy infrastructure and systems among the top three challenges to digital transformation. Nowhere is this felt more strongly than in financial services, where 92 of the world’s top 100 banks still rely on the mainframe. Meanwhile, more agile fintech firms continue to emerge, vying for market share.
In 2019, we’ll see more organizations breath a new lease of life into their legacy systems to innovate faster. Rather than trying to rip and replace or connect legacy systems to modern services with rigid integrations, we’ll see businesses plug legacy systems into their overall application network with APIs. As a result, organizations will establish an integration layer between legacy systems and new-age applications and devices, where data can securely flow across the business and be reused to speed up development time.
The 3-layer API model will be challenged. Managing an exponentially growing number of platform APIs will be more difficult than expected.
Surge in AD and Office 365 migrations. The merger, acquisition and divestiture spree of 2018 means businesses will have more AD and Office 365 migrations to perform this year. And with M&A deals becoming larger and more complex, IT teams will be faced with an exorbitant amount of migration work to Office 365. It won’t be simply M&A activity, Microsoft’s release of its on premise 2019 suite for Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business means older legacy versions will appear less appealing and teams will need to plan a migration path now or consolidate on premise and Office 365 instanced.
SharePoint will get the recognition it deserves. SharePoint will emerge as the modern “team tool”, thanks to SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2019. The new SharePoint experience - mobile friendly, easier to use, better performing - will see an uptick in usage across the organizations as it sets users up for the inevitable convergence into Microsoft Teams
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