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Integration is Everything in a Mobile, Social, Cloud and Big Data World

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Integration - what makes us so immature?We live in a world where business is moving faster each and every day. The time frames of the pre-Internet age where phones and fax were the norm would seem impossibly slow today.

Unfortunately, it’s worse than that. While the speed of business picks up, there are new challenges that make managing information and decisions incrementally harder every day. You hear about them by the names of social, cloud, big data and mobility, but what those terms all represent at their core is a problem with the integration of it all. When broken down, it all becomes even more apparent:

Social media – The biggest challenge is structure of free-form text and sentiment analysis. ‘Likes’ are easy, but the rest is pretty tough. Social media is a rich source of customer data, but only if that data integrates with your inventory and selling systems.

Cloud – Gain efficiency and flexibility internally with on-premise cloud; elasticity and cost externally with public cloud; and find a best-of-both solution with hybrid cloud. But every time we move data anywhere except in a tidy, old-fashioned database, it becomes disintegrated and challenging to manage.

Big Data – Big Data’s volume, velocity, and variety make it an integration elephant in the room. Whatever challenge we had in the past with having information shared between applications and networks just became integration on steroids. Big Data raises integration questions around how much can be managed and the tradeoffs of having too little or too much.

Mobility – The smartphone revolution and the just-now-arriving Internet of Things (IOT) means that what was once historical is now available from the source and in the moment it happens. Integrating the many sources and destinations of mobile and IOT data requires a significant change in thinking.

Integration Maturity Model

Yes, what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces is a warning bell for any organization that manages data beyond a single application. (Unless you’re a mom-and-pop shop, that’s you.) If you feel you’re behind the curve, you’re not alone — most companies were struggling to integrate adequately before the Nexus. But before you feel too much despair, take heart: We’ve created an integration maturity model that allows you to not only assess your organization’s current state of readiness, but to see the gaps and create a plan to close them.

Companies that are integration mature have significant advantages over their competition, which include:

  • Lower cost for development and maintenance of applications and other infrastructure.
  • Shorter times for implementation of new technology.
  • Preparedness for common initiatives like supply chain integration and implementing Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

What are you waiting for? Take the test now.

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Published at DZone with permission of Christopher Taylor , DZone MVB .

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