Everything changes. We are in a period of significant shifts in companies—even entire industries—demonstrated in rankings, like the Fortune Global 500. For the last century, these periods of volatility have been driven by a combination of technological change and capital expansion. There is obvious competition between direct, traditional market segments, but digital disruption also opens up the ability to compete and gain revenue in new areas. For example, a movie streaming service like Netflix also launches a community around the software it created to run its services, or an online retailer like Amazon also innovates with public cloud management. Innovation requires more than a slick customer user interface (UI). There has to be a foundation of technology, processes, and culture that allow an organization to be flexible, to build on its existing knowledge, and to incorporate new ideas.
At a strategic level, today’s software is expected to deliver on a multitude of new and different business objectives, from big data, application programming interface (API), and Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives to omnichannel experiences. In addition, software needs to work across multiple business functions, business models, engagement channels, and stakeholder ecosystems—and it needs to do it all at ever faster rates of change and innovation. What companies expect from their software and hardware systems is the ability to adapt to new market realities, realign to capitalize on opportunities, and do all of this without missing a beat in efficiency and uptime. An organization that can change pricing overnight and make new product options available to its global customers and staff rapidly has an enormous advantage over one that requires a three-month rollout with a cascade of manual verification steps.
The ability to integrate applications and data, known as enterprise integration, is key to realizing different business objectives and delivering competitive services. New, and increasingly difficult, demands are being placed on old approaches as digital innovation and disruption become the norm. Internal business workflows and customer interactions still rely on core systems of record and their supporting IT infrastructure, but delivering solid internal solutions faster has become radically more difficult. New challenges like the increased adoption of cloud applications, hybrid cloud IT environments, and the need to extend systems to reach partners and customers generate demand for modern applications. This makes enterprise integration even more important and delivering services in a faster, continuous way even more critical. We believe a better way to address these new and rapidly multiplying challenges is to integrate different applications and information systems using agile integration strategies.