To­mor­row’s Plat­form To­day: The In­te­gra­tion Of Every­thing

Or­ga­ni­za­tions that adopt a next-gen­er­a­tion plat­form won’t need to ask ques­tions such as: Should I go for Open Source, Java, IBM or Or­a­cle? They can get into dis­rup­tion mode us­ing the tech­nol­ogy that fits their needs best

Dataquest - - C9ONTENTS - (The au­thors: Lekha KK is Global Head, En­ter­prise Busi­ness In­te­gra­tion Prac­tice, Wipro Lim­ited and Raviprasad is Head, API Man­age­ment Group, En­ter­prise Busi­ness In­te­gra­tion Prac­tice, Wipro Lim­ited)

Tech­nol­ogy in­te­gra­tion has al­ways been a challenge. In­te­grat­ing legacy in­fra­struc­ture with new tech­nol­ogy, in­te­grat­ing cloud en­vi­ron­ments with on premise and in­te­grat­ing sys­tem of records with cus­tomer-fac­ing sys­tems of ex­pe­ri­ence are suck­ing up an alarm­ing amount of re­sources, time and costs. More im­por­tantly, tra­di­tional in­te­gra­tion method­olo­gies like Com­mon Ob­ject Re­quest Bro­ker Ar­chi­tec­ture (CORBA), En­ter­prise Ap­pli­ca­tion In­te­gra­tion (EAI) and the more re­cent En­ter­prise Ser­vice Bus (ESB) are un­able to keep pace with the high-vol­ume transformation made nec­es­sary by dis­rup­tive busi­ness mod­els.

In­te­gra­tion is slated to present even greater chal­lenges. There is the com­ing growth in the In­ter­net of Things (IoT) to con­tend with as well as the in­creas­ing adop­tion of light­weight, loosely cou­pled Mi­croser­vices ar­chi­tec­ture as a path to agility.

The so­lu­tion seems ob­vi­ous: a one-stop shop for the in­te­gra­tion of every­thing that busi­nesses can use to keep their operations, li­cense and man­age­ment costs un­der con­trol.

For such a plat­form to be­come suc­cess­ful, we need two crit­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties: first, while speed­ing up in­te­gra­tion, the plat­form shouldn’t dis­turb the cur­rent ar­chi­tec­ture, and sec­ond, en­sur­ing the busi­ness model is con­sump­tion- or out­come- based. In other words, what is called for is an As-a-Ser­vice New Age In­te­gra­tion Plat­form

The chal­lenges posed by these plat­forms be­come ev­i­dent when con­sid­er­ing the pri­vacy and com­pli­ance re­quire­ments of in­dus­tries such as fi­nan­cial ser­vices. Mov­ing base stor­age, ap­pli­ca­tions and com­pute ca­pa­bil­i­ties to cloud and in­te­grat­ing them with on premise com­pli­ance-sen­si­tive ser­vices can be tricky. How­ever, en­rich­ing cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and ac­cel­er­at­ing time to mar­ket for new prod­ucts and ser­vices de­pends on rapid and flaw­less in­te­gra­tion be­tween core pro­cesses, busi­ness part­ners, reg­u­la­tory bod­ies and end cus­tomers.

The ad­van­tages of such plat­forms are am­pli­fied when con­sid­er­ing a sup­ply chain sce­nario in man­u­fac­tur­ing. As Man­u­fac­tur­ing 4.0 and Smart Fac­to­ries be­come the norm, busi­nesses will need to con­nect and in­te­grate with many dif­fer­ent in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal sys­tems. This will be­come the de­fault mode of operations as man­u­fac­tur­ing sup­ply chains be­gin to lever­age data from di­verse sources and self-op­ti­mize for de­mand man­age­ment, cost ef­fi­cien­cies and qual­ity im­prove­ments.

KEY FOCUS AR­EAS

The tech­nol­ogy and so­lu­tion ar­chi­tec­ture for such the New Age In­te­gra­tion Plat­form would focus around:

API Man­age­ment: APIs en­able the in­te­gra­tion of light weight Mi­croser­vices, quickly en­sur­ing that two in­de­pen­dent ser­vices can in­ter­act. This al­lows en­ter­prises to move away from tra­di­tional, in­flex­i­ble mono­lithic ar­chi­tec­ture and re­spond to cus­tomer needs with speed and agility. The trend is giv­ing rise to pop­u­lar API man­age­ment prod­ucts from ven­dors that pro­vide end-to-end API life cy­cle man­age­ment, API gate­way, Mi­croser­vices devel­op­ment, DevOps and De­ploy­ment (On premise/Cloud/PCF) ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

IoT: API man­age­ment prod­ucts in­te­grate IoT sys­tems. Ca­pa­bil­i­ties such as API se­cu­rity, ver­sion­ing and an­a­lyt­ics are lever­aged to sup­port M2M in­te­gra­tion and de­vice in­te­gra­tion with cloud to im­prove cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, new ser­vices and im­proved rev­enue. As new de­vices be­come par­tic­i­pants in the IoT, new pro­to­cols will evolve, and in­te­gra­tion tech­nol­ogy will have to be­come dy­namic. Ac­cord­ing to Gart­ner, half the cost of im­ple­ment­ing IoT solutions in 2018 will be ac­counted by in­te­gra­tion ef­forts be­tween IoT com­po­nents and back­end sys­tems.

Sys­tem of Records: Align­ing to API First ar­chi­tec­ture, back­end APIs will be pressed into ser­vice to ab­stract data from Sys­tems of Record and power fron­tend Sys­tems of Ex­pe­ri­ence and Sys­tems of In­ter­ac­tion. Sys­tems of Records are typ­i­cally slow mov­ing, un­ac­cus­tomed to the fast-pace of fron­tend apps, web­sites, mo­bile and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion. The clock speeds of front and back­end sys­tems are so dif­fer­ent that APIs must be used to pro­vide the high-vol­ume real-time ser­vices that front ends de­mand when they scale from thou­sands to billions of in­ter­ac­tions.

Cloud In­te­gra­tion: It has be­come es­sen­tial to in­te­grate cloud to cloud, on premise to cloud, hy­brid and de­vice to cloud, so that ap­pli­ca­tions and data can be ac­cessed by any­one, any­where and any­time, driv­ing con­ve­nience, speed and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. In­te­gra­tion Plat­form as a Ser­vice (iPaaS) pro­vides the nec­es­sary tools for cloud ap­pli­ca­tion and ser­vice in­te­gra­tion. Clearly, cloud in­te­gra­tion is an area that de­mands a watch­ful eye and care­ful mon­i­tor­ing.

Back­end as a Ser­vice (BaaS): App devel­op­ment in­volves con­sid­er­able time and ef­fort in back­end data in­te­gra­tion. Many back­end ser­vices such as so­cial graphs, user man­age­ment, data stor­age, push no­ti­fi­ca­tion and per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing, each with its own API, can be ex­posed to ap­pli­ca­tions. For de­vel­op­ers, this can be te­dious and time-con­sum­ing. BaaS con­nects the back and fron­tend of an app us­ing

a uni­fied API, pro­vid­ing a con­sis­tent way to man­age data and elim­i­nat­ing the bur­den on de­vel­op­ers while ac­cel­er­at­ing devel­op­ment.

Files In­te­gra­tion: B2B in­ter­ac­tion and trans­ac­tions – be­tween sup­pli­ers, distrib­u­tors, em­ploy­ees and third party lo­gis­tic providers – is through an ex­change of files. This is done us­ing Elec­tronic Data In­ter­change (EDI) or Man­aged File Trans­fer (MFT). The mar­ket of­fers sev­eral ready-to-use MFTaaS solutions in a va­ri­ety of busi­ness mod­els.

So­cial Me­dia: Many busi­nesses are opt­ing for so­cial me­dia (SM) in­te­gra­tion to un­der­stand what end users want, en­able rich and in­stant in­ter­ac­tion with end users and up­grade prod­ucts and ser­vices based on the feed­back of the cus­tomer. SM is mak­ing its way into ev­ery seg­ment of busi­ness, from prod­uct de­sign and test­ing to mar­ket­ing, cus­tomer ser­vice, feed­back, in­sights on com­pet­i­tive prod­ucts and even em­ployee en­gage­ment. In­te­gra­tion with Face­book, Twit­ter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and other SM plat­forms is API-driven and of­fers lim­it­less prospects of iden­ti­fy­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in so­cial con­ver­sa­tions.

How Next Gen­er­a­tion In­te­gra­tion plat­form can ben­e­fit in­dus­try ver­ti­cals?

Wel­come to Man­u­fac­tur­ing 4.0 – Dig­i­tal Sup­ply Chain. Man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try has gone through a rapid transformation of their man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses from In­dus­try 3.0 (adop­tion of IT, Elec­tron­ics & au­to­ma­tion of pro­duc­tion pro­cesses) to In­dus­try 4.0(an ex­am­ple is the dig­i­ti­za­tion of man­u­fac­tur­ing & sup­ply chain pro­cesses). Adop­tion of Next Gen­er­a­tion In­te­gra­tion Tech­nol­ogy can dig­i­tize the sup­ply chain pro­cesses. To en­able this, we need a seam­less con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the sys­tem of en­gage­ment and sys­tem of records, au­to­mated trans­fer of doc­u­ments (In­voic­ing & Pur­chase Or­der), cap­tur­ing the sta­tus of each sup­ply chain ac­tiv­ity in the sup­ply chain process, need to pull in data from dif­fer­ent sys­tem of records (Or­der man­age­ment sys­tem such as SAP), third party sys­tem (EDI sys­tem such as Ster­ling In­te­gra­tor), se­cured file trans­fers (Con­fi­den­tial Prod­uct De­sign Doc­u­ment ) to 3D prin­ters, Smart la­bel­ing to track the prod­uct move­ment within the sup­ply chain. API Layer will en­able the in­te­gra­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the ap­pli­ca­tions within and out­side the en­ter­prise. Man­aged File Trans­fer will pro­vide the se­cured doc­u­ment trans­fer be­tween the trad­ing part­ners and in­ter­nal with in the en­ter­prise. To ex­e­cute the above use case, en­ter­prise would re­quire seam­less in­te­gra­tion be­tween ap­pli­ca­tion to ap­pli­ca­tion, busi­ness to busi­ness (across the trad­ing part­ners), Con­nec­tors to con­nect to dif­fer­ent sys­tem of records (such as SAP), pub­lish­ing of data and con­tent to hand held de­vices to pro­vide an en­riched user ex­pe­ri­ence which re­quire back­end in­te­gra­tion to push rel­e­vant data to apps.

The Next Gen­er­a­tion In­te­gra­tion Plat­form with API Man­age­ment, File Trans­fer, B2B In­te­gra­tion & Back­end In­te­gra­tion en­abled thru Back­end as a Ser­vice(BaaS) ca­pa­bil­ity, so­cial me­dia in­te­gra­tion (ca­pa­bil­ity through APIs which will pro­vide valu­able in­sights on what com­pe­ti­tion is say­ing on their prod­ucts, cus­tomer feed­back on prod­ucts) will en­able cus­tomers to quickly adopt to dig­i­tal dis­rup­tive busi­ness model

BANK­ING IN­DUS­TRY - OPEN BANK­ING

Open Bank­ing is the self-ser­vice dis­cov­ery, pro­vi­sion­ing and cre­ation of new ser­vices by ecosys­tem in­side and

Se­cu­rity and reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance be­comes ut­most im­por­tant to banks when it comes to ‘Open Bank­ing’ adop­tion

out­side the bank. Banks are ex­pos­ing the cus­tomer data thru API’s to ex­ter­nal part­ners to en­able open bank­ing sys­tem/ plat­form adop­tion. Se­cu­rity and reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance be­comes ut­most im­por­tant to banks when it comes to ‘Open Bank­ing’ adop­tion. A plat­form which can in­te­grate with the bank­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and en­able se­cured ac­cess for cus­tomer ac­counts and pro­vide per­sonal fi­nance man­age­ment would be the key re­quire­ment for banks to open up their bank­ing in­fra­struc­ture out­side the bank.

Next Gen­er­a­tion In­te­gra­tion plat­form API Man­age­ment (with Open Bank­ing APIs such as Ac­count Info API, KYC API, Ag­gre­ga­tion API’s, Pay­ment API avail­able for con­sump­tion via API Store), Hy­brid In­te­gra­tion (in­te­gra­tion of on premise bank­ing ap­pli­ca­tions with cloud ap­pli­ca­tions in the part­ner ecosys­tem) & BaaS ca­pa­bil­i­ties will en­able banks to have a com­pos­able bank­ing plat­form de­vel­oped quickly and re­spond to the ‘Fin­tech’ dis­rup­tion

What the above points to are sim­ple: in­te­gra­tion spells op­por­tu­nity, and a plat­form that in­te­grates every­thing is bound to be a win­ner.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions that adopt a next-gen­er­a­tion plat­form won’t need to ask ques­tions such as, “should I go for Open Source, Java, IBM or Or­a­cle?” They can get into dis­rup­tion mode us­ing the tech­nol­ogy that fits their needs best and de­pend on the In­te­gra­tion of Every­thing as a Ser­vice (IXaaS) plat­forms to do the rest.

Our ex­pe­ri­ence from pro­vid­ing such plat­forms with com­monly avail­able con­nec­tors (for CRM, SAP, MFT, SM, etc.) shows a 40 to 50 per­cent re­duc­tion in ef­fort. This means or­ga­ni­za­tions that adopt IXaaS will not only im­prove ROI from legacy in­vest­ments, but also en­able ser­vices quickly and at low­ered cost.

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