Most companies today understand the importance of moving to a cloud-based integration model and the significance of connecting different applications and its impact on business transformation goals. But does this mean that they are ready to go full throttle and completely adopt cloud? A cloud-based Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) can work only if certain conditions are met — everything has to move off on-premises and the migration may have several implications. Everyone is moving toward hybrid integration; organizations that want to modernize their legacy systems and applications have adopted cloud-based applications at an alarming rate and do not want to make the complete switch to cloud, yet!
Hybrid integration lets you have the cake and eat it as well. It definitely seems like the ideal solution for the cloud problem. It allows on-premise applications to connect with cloud-based applications using a secure technology like Transport Layer Security to bridge the gap between enterprise systems and services like Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or iPaaS. It saves the cost of data transfer, gives businesses a competitive edge, and drives innovation.
Why should your organization consider hybrid integration?
If you aren't a very small or a very large company, then pick hybrid integration. You get the best of the cloud and the safety and privacy of on-premise; it is a happy mix of the two worlds. Most organizations understand that everything does not belong in the cloud and neither opt to keep all their applications on-premise entirely. A hybrid model allows you to integrate or sync on-premise and cloud applications through a single platform with the flexibility to move integrations from on-premise to private or public clouds. Connecting applications on the cloud is enabled by iPaaS and connecting applications on-premise is made secure by the firewall. The hybrid model comes with a little extra cost as it provides those extra layers of security but in the long run when your organization chooses to shift to cloud, it makes it much easier.
A 'how-to' on hybrid integration strategy
To enable hybrid integration, organizations need to choose the right platform and complete the most important part of the puzzle — a hybrid integration strategy. Here are some quick tips on what to look at while designing your own strategy keeping in mind the challenges that comes with a hybrid environment.
- Understand your integration center of gravity: Will you host your integration tools and applications on cloud, on-premise, or both? To make that decision, you must consider the current location of the systems already in place.
- Determine roles and responsibilities: How do you decide who will manage hybrid clouds? You can choose to self-manage (public/private cloud integration), outsource (managed integration), or deploy hosted systems (hybrid integration).
- Identify your users: Classify them into three main integration developers: integration specialists (traditional integrators), ad-hoc (non-traditional) integrators, and citizen integrators
- Plan toward high project volumes: To avoid the piling up of new project demands and incomplete ones, organizations can choose a self-service integration approach and/or increase asset re-use.
- Customize integration for different types of projects: Understanding the requirement is key. Organizations could either choose a bi-modal IT approach that delineates between traditional and agile projects and assigns personnel accordingly, and the other approach is the use of APIs to integrate applications.
- Ensure high data quality: This can be achieved through governance and organizations should spend time establishing rules and policies over who can access what application data. This is critical to manage risk and avoid future threats.
Hybrid integration is the 'new normal'
Without doubt, hybrid integration approaches are best suited for most companies that are prepared to move toward agile integration. It enables organizations to kick-start a Bring Your Own Device strategy with the increasing number of employees requesting the use of their own device to access applications or tools, which brings in the need for more than what you were prepared for. Whether your marketing team wants to access CRM on a mobile device or the sales team wants to access point of sale presentations on the go, a hybrid model will help you decide what should be available in the cloud and what should be restricted to on-premise. Hybrid integration is certainly the way forward, and both large and small companies have started adopting this.
If you are ready to make the move to hybrid integration, let us help you understand its benefits, challenges, and best practices, and choose the right strategy and integration platform. Contact us and don't forget to check out our next piece on the rising popularity of self-service integration.