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A recent survey commissioned by Digibee of 1,000 IT leaders including CIOs, system architects and developers, regarding their enterprise integration strategy revealed interesting results. The most staggering result is that only 7% have an established enterprise integration strategy, even though 93% of IT leaders view enterprise integration as imperative to their business, a top priority or nice to have.
The implication is that most of these leaders are managing integrations with a stopgap approach, which is supported in the results: In the past 12 months, 98% of respondents have rebuilt integrations for existing key business applications. Also in the past 12 months, more than half of CIOs and 45% of system architects and developers said integrations for existing key business applications had to be rebuilt six to 10 times.
The Problems from Poor Integrations
Survey respondents also indicated additional ways that poor integrations are hurting their business, including impeded innovation, making them less able to adopt new technologies to support business growth (48%); ineffective practices, process and other inefficiencies that impact the success of the business (48%); lack of agility, resulting in slow response times to changes in the market, affecting profitability and share of market (40%); and wasted resources, because specialists must focus on maintenance and lower-value work versus building the business (37%).
The Status of Enterprise Integration Strategy Planning
The survey also revealed a mixture of planning stages regarding enterprise integration strategy adoption. While successful adoption of an enterprise integration strategy currently is low (7%), and it may be that currently most enterprises surveyed have a piecemeal approach to enterprise integration, 51% of respondents plan to implement an enterprise integration strategy within the next 12 months.
6% plan to supplement or replace their integration strategy within the next 12 months. However, 36% have no plans to implement an enterprise integration strategy. This indicates that enterprise integration strategy adoption is a growing initiative in IT organizations, but there are barriers to adoption.
The Barriers to Enterprise Integration Strategy Adoption
The survey provided insights into why 93% of respondents don't have an enterprise integration strategy or an enterprise integration platform as a service (eiPaaS) in place.
36% of respondents said budget is their top issue, possibly because integration projects often go over budget or due to competing priorities.
31% cited security concerns, as enterprise integration may change how a company's data or systems are accessed.
28% indicated concerns with complexity and time, possibly reflecting the complex and time-intensive nature of integration projects at their organizations.
27% reported lack of skills as an issue, although it's possible to engage consultants to help.
Another 27% said legacy systems are holding them back, as they may believe it's difficult or impossible to integrate siloed legacy systems.
Enterprise Integration Objectives
The key objectives of enterprise integration that survey respondents reported were rather evenly divided among many of the current IT trends and objectives. This further illustrates the business importance that 93% of respondents place on enterprise integration. Each respondent selected three top priorities. The results were AI and automation enablement (31%); improve data security (28%); improve security, reliability and governance (28%); reduce operational costs (28%); faster time to market (27%); better business analytics and decision-making (24%); cloud migration or upgrade, and digital transformation (23%); and upgrade from legacy infrastructure (21%).
Advice for Implementing an Enterprise Integration Strategy
An enterprise integration strategy establishes a common approach, such as an integration platform, and processes for collaboration and information exchange across an organization. Those considering or currently implementing an enterprise integration strategy should answer these questions before selecting an integration platform:
What types of integrations will the organization support?
Who are the users of the platform: business users or developers, or a mix of both?
Which team(s) will own and execute the integration strategy?
How quickly must the platform be up and running? Is the platform or solution able to support current staff and combined expertise?
What will the organization do with existing integration technology?
The survey results indicate we're at a crossroads with enterprise integration strategy. Respondents reported that integrating the enterprise is essential to the success of the business but getting there is very much a work in progress. Today, all can easily achieve enterprise integration, but it's essential to take that first step by implementing an enterprise integration strategy.