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Integration as a Strategic Imperative – Part 2: A Platform Approach to Integration

Welcome to Part 2 of the SAP’s ‘Integration as a Strategic Imperative’  blog series. In this blog, we will focus on a platform approach to integration.

As organizations start to master the ‘new normal’, integration plays an increasingly important role in empowering digitalized business models to adapt and address the significant changes being witnessed in terms of customer behavior and the real-time changes in demand patterns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies that recognize how a strategic approach to integration can help them implement a versatile and adaptable data access platform, with informed executive-level support, will set aside old paradigms for connecting applications, processes, and data, and will ultimately empower their business resources to align more quickly in order to meet ever changing market conditions.

To achieve this business optimization nirvana, companies must consider one of the three following approaches.

  1. A Stand-Alone Integration Vendor

The first option is to go with a stand-alone integration solution. Over the past five years the number of stand-alone integration vendors that Gartner tracks has doubled from 30 to 60. As a result there are many vendor choices to consider. Stand-alone integration technologies tend to be singularly focused on the experienced integration developer persona needs; providing extensive developer-based integration capabilities.

However, standalone integration vendors are not typically masters at business process optimizations. I have observed many instances where the adoption of a stand-alone integration solution has led to more complexity within a landscape, resulting in unreliability, bottlenecks, higher costs, and slower performance—not to mention an inability to keep up with the business’ integration demands. These shortcomings ultimately lead to frustration, conflict and pressure, increasing project failures —not exactly the stuff of strategic integration.

2. A Hyperscaler Approach to Integration

Some organization instead choose to combine their integration strategy with their hyperscaler partner of choice. Although larger public cloud providers do offer integration capabilities, these services are not the the hyperscalers’ core area of focus—infrastructure capacity and usage is their primary emphasis. As a result, integration subsists as a minor element within a much larger portfolio. Hyperscalers’ core strengths do not include deep industry knowledge and holistic integration capabilities that most organizations need to accelerate any integration initiative.

3. Picking a Winning Integration Strategy

I’m a believer in the Goldilocks principle—nothing too hot or too cold, but a solution that is just right. And thankfully, there is a third option: an integration platform that inherently includes both business process and data integration capabilities with a focus on usability and pre-packaged, best-practice approaches.

An integration platform provides a versatile, dynamic approach to integration that caters to a wide range of enterprise use cases, including combining data from applications, processes, people, and sensors across on-premises, cloud, and hybrid ecosystems to achieve higher user productivity and business agility. Ultimately an integration solution that is focused on achieving results, providing you with a polished solution that helps you achieve your desired business results rapidly without getting bogged down in more technical implementation aspects.

The SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite

The Cloud Platform Integration Suite from SAP allows organizations to establish an extendable and open integration strategy from a seasoned applications vendor that inherently understands the underlying business processes within an organization. The platform supports the major hyperscaler infrastructures used by today’s organizations and provides an optimized, standard method for integration and a unified UI across the enterprise—simplifying adoption and improving data access and usage for all users within an organization.

Understanding that integration between various cloud systems was vital to moving their business forward, Delaware Consulting turned to the SAP Cloud Platform Integration Suite to gain insight into business processes that run across their multiple cloud applications. Delaware Consulting was able to easily integrate a number of cloud applications including SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud thanks to a prepackaged design-to-operate process that used the cloud integration and API management capabilities of the Integration Suite.

Without being bogged down by the compounding complexities of a stand-alone integration solution or hamstrung by the limitations of integration services from a large public cloud operation, Delaware Consulting is free to focus on growth, innovation, and moving confidently forward into the future.

A Clear Path Forward

An optimal integration landscape doesn’t have to be an impossible ideal, something for which we are always striving but never quite achieving. Too often, organizations fall into integration rabbit holes that actually land them farther away from where they need to be. An integration platform like SAP’s, with pre-packaged integrations that empower self-service access, offers organizations a clear path forward to achieve the level of digital transformation needed to succeed in our new normal.

See for yourself in this video overview of SAP Cloud Integration Platform Suite. Next up in our 6-part blog series, is my colleague Michael Hill’s perspective on how agility and scalability factor in to an evolved approach to integration.

 

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