Hybrid cloud integration key in digital transformation deployments

Hybrid integration and micro-services-based APIs crucial

At the core of a successful digital transformation strategy is data - being able to access it at both increasing speed and breadth - where a modernised hybrid cloud integration is seen as key to unlocking business value.

For organisations seeking to lay the foundation for greater speed and agility through digital transformation, according to Capgemini findings, hybrid integration and micro-services-based application programming interfaces (APIs) are crucial.

Whilst the survey was global, 20 per cent of the 818 senior IT executives surveyed came from the Asia Pacific region, working in organisations with revenues of over €500 million.

The results of the survey suggested that a mature API-driven hybrid integration strategy is a contributing factor to business growth.

“In companies with multiple units and sites that have done things in different ways using different technologies, standardising the integrations across the organisation is imperative, but it requires a big planning effort even before you start making any changes,” said Charlie Li, head of cloud services of North America at Capgemini.

"APIs are controlled, they are standardised and they are secure. This allows companies to collaborate in a much bigger way than they have before."

The report classified executives into two categories, integrators and deliberators, with 49 per cent of integrators reported revenue growth of five per cent or more over the past three years, compared with just 23 per cent of deliberators.

Furthermore, integrators manage to reduce the time needed to upgrade existing products by 50 per cent or more by 41 per cent, compared to 33 per cent of deliberators, with nearly half of the integrator group (46 per cent) aiming to engage in the API economy to create new revenue streams (vs. 25 per cent of deliberators).

These findings indicate that integrators are much more bullish about their ability to innovate with 68 per cent saying they are able to develop new products rapidly and bring them to market quickly (vs. 25 per cent of deliberators) with greater scalability, reliability and customisation.

Furthermore, APIs are seen as having more versatility than just as a means to improve the customer experience.

However, complexity remains a concern and actively impedes an organisations ability to move towards a hybrid IT environment.

A hybrid integration approach involves the use of modern, cloud-based integration tools in combination with that on-premise, such as the enterprise service bus (ESB), to connect applications in different environments.

Specifically, the report found that 66 per cent of surveyed firms use three or more cloud providers, with over three-quarters of their applications running in a private cloud or on-premise (or both).

The traditional point-to-point integration approach used within monolithic systems will not be able to cope when hundreds of a company’s applications reside in several different environments, concluded the report.

And whilst hybrid integration is widely seen as a means to manage these complexity survey respondents were also cautious of adopting a ‘piecemeal’ approach to integration, “agreed that companies should not attempt to rip and replace their legacy integration architecture in one fell swoop.”

On the other hand, the report concludes that it is necessary to take the appropriate steps at the right time and combat the inertia in order to seize the hybrid integration opportunity effectively.

“The first step to modernising an organisation’s integration capabilities is to identify the requirements based on its business goals and technology roadmap,” said the report.

Furthermore, the survey found that six in ten respondents say their organisation has identified the existing and future integration requirements needed to support their business ambitions.

The report highlighted that the next step for executives was to develop a strategy that is aligned with phasing out older integration tools and replacing them with cloud-based ones.

“Making the right choices based on selection criteria that support business objectives can ensure an optimised total cost of ownership (TCO) and a greater return on investment (ROI),” concluded the report.