8 essential criteria for your enterprise integration tooling

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Ovum middlewareIBM just received the highest scores for “technology” and “execution and market impact” in a Middleware Ovum Decision Matrix. I’ll tell you what that might mean for your business in a minute. But first, a quick story you’ll probably find familiar.

I had to call a plumber the other day. An underground pipe for my sprinkler system burst and it started flooding my yard. While the pipe was being replaced the plumber asked me if I cared what type of pipe he used. Nope—it’s all the same, right? Apparently, not, and that’s what got me into trouble in the first place. It’s funny that you don’t think about how complex and critical your plumbing is until it breaks. Then you have a huge mess on your hands, or in this case, in my yard.

Integration is no different. Less visible areas tend not to get the attention they Ovum middlewaredeserve. Integration might not be as cool as cognitive computing, or getting the buzz of blockchain. But without the right underlying connections your data doesn’t flow. And even the coolest innovations cannot deliver on its potential for your business without the ability to access all relevant data and services. For years, middleware has been the technology plumbing, the critical information infrastructure, that brings all of the data and services in an organization together. And it still is.

But now with the expansion of cloud computing, the state of integration has been refactored to meet the growing demands of new digital business and the agility requirements that come with it. Some of the big, multiyear projects are going the way of the iron plumber’s wrench. (That is a plumbing joke.)

Enter middleware as a service.

Middleware as a service (MWaaS) might not be a term you are familiar with. The analyst firm Ovum defines it as:

“a cohesive suite of cloud-based integration services aimed at hybrid integration use cases, including cloud service integration, API-led integration and API management, B2B integration, mobile application/backend integration, and IoT application and data integration.”

Today’s businesses don’t leverage only one form of integration. Moreover, they can’t throw out years of IT investment and completely start from scratch. And they can’t give up the security of an on-premises or private cloud environment. A multicloud approach is critical to success in the digital world. And integration and middleware are what powers it.

But where do you start? Ovum recently released their Decision Matrix: Middleware-as-a-service suites, 2017-2018—download it here. They outlined some of the critical characteristics of a leading solution. Considerations they mention include:

  • An API-centric, agile approach to application, data and process integration, reducing development effort and costs
  • The flexibility to provision various combinations of cloud-based integration services based on specific requirements
  • Uniformity in underlying infrastructure resources and enabling technologies
  • Flexible integration between various components of the middleware suite
  • Openness to federation with traditional, on-premises middleware platforms
  • Uniform user experience across different integration scenarios and middleware components
  • Support for embedding integration capabilities through APIs into a range of applications and solutions
  • An extension of developer productivity features and tools to a broader set of integration capabilities. For example, a drag-and-drop approach to integration flow development and prebuilt connectors and templates to a broader set of integration capabilities

Success depends on selecting the right partner for your journey. That is why I am so pleased to announce that IBM received the highest scores for “technology” and “execution and market impact” categories in the recent Ovum Decision Matrix. The recognition that integration is no longer the sole domain of the IT department or tooling that only runs in the central data center has helped drive us to create a solution with comprehensive integration capabilities.

The plumbing matters. Access to the right data and services matters. Flexibility, security and scalability matters. Your digital success is reliant on something that almost no one thinks about. That is, until it breaks your business.

Download the Ovum Decision Matrix: Middleware-as-a-service suites, 2017-2018.

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