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  • First Digital

Cloud-based integration setting the pace

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

Once upon a time (roughly two decades ago), Information Technology made an unbelieve step change, arguably looking back in history at mainframe architecture, and the Cloud was born. Ever since many businesses in the world have moved services and infrastructure to cloud-based providers.

As services moved, new challenges emerged. Multiple cloud-based services needed to connect and work together. Cloud-based integration is an approach that prioritises cloud computing services and covers data, process, application integration and service-oriented architectures.

Cloud computing opened up a new world of possibilities, enabling businesses to combine their cloud applications with on-premise systems. Cloud services offer easier scaling options and further allows users to store and access their data via the internet instead of the geographic limitations of office networks or VPNs. It connects systems, environments and applications while improving connectivity, business processes, security and visibility.

Forward-thinking companies are building their businesses on cloud-based platforms. Cloud technologies enhance business processes, workflow systems and provide tools and support like never before.

Integration as a service

Indeed the first to be implemented. Without this capability, we cannot connect local and remote resources. Modern integrations are easier to use because they follow industry data and security protocols, and take into account the parameters of having to run over the internet.

Building scalable and security cloud-integration strategies offers a competitive advantage due to reduced operational costs, increasing scalability and flexibility, improving inter-party communications, and ultimately improving customer service.

What is iPaaS?

Integration Platforms-as-a-Service (or iPaaS) has been on the market for a few years. The industry's first step towards mass-managing hand-coded integrations and APIs are expected to replace Enterprise Service Bus architectures and traditional point-to-point integration solutions. iPaaS is a suite of cloud solutions enabling the development, execution, and governance of a wide range of integration scenarios, such as data exchange, application & system integration, hybrid cloud integration, service-oriented architecture (SOA) integration, internet of things integration, API management, and business to business (B2C) integration scenarios. It can connect any combination of on-premise systems or cloud applications within and outside of an organisation. It positions iPaaS as the perfect hybrid integration platform (HIP). It therefor could act as the ideal place to build and automate end-to-end workflow processes.

Mature iPaaS offerings have ready-built connectors and adapters to connect cloud-to-cloud, on-premise-to-on-premise and on-premise-to-cloud. iPaaS also offers complete lifecycle API management, which can speed up how connections are created across applications, and to allow backwards compatibility for systems being integrated.

Hybrid Service Integrations?

Hybrid integrations are becoming increasingly relevant when businesses need to connect their legacy systems with cloud-based applications. This offers opportunity to companies that are hesitant due to the risk of upgrading or replacing systems. First Digital’s Automation and Integration team often assist clients to automate processes that span both on premises applications and one or more cloud hosted applications. We believe that the work in the immediate future will be very much a hybrid world, and our approach focuses on this as a viable approach.

The most common integrations scenarios

Company departments might have their own integration requirements. The job of IT is to keep the lights on by offering service level agreements, monitoring and maintenance tools. The sales function in a business, for instance, have requirements on top of that, like connecting their CRM to their ERP. Using iPaaS, getting data securely shared between these systems, does not add to the on-premises footprint for IT, but allow the business objectives of the sales team to be achieved. Further benefitting from the security and scalability iPaaS offers.

About me:

I am Tiaan Klopper, a regional business manager for the Automation and Integration team at First Digital (a First Technology company). We deploy integration and automation tools for our clients using Micrsoft Azure, Nintex, K2 and shift data around from WebAPI endpoints, legacy API’s, Microsoft SQL server. We offer system to system integration services and specialist in Robotic Process Automation using Power Platform, UiPath and Automation Anywhere.

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