As higher education institutions’ application portfolios have exploded in size during the last decade, data integration between those applications has evolved from a necessary evil to a competitive advantage when it’s done well. Institutions that struggle with modern integration methods and tools may find their journey toward modernization frustrating. Modern strategies and tools have matured significantly—and should be adopted by all institutions as they prepare and progress on their cloud modernization paths.
Integration strategies and technologies have changed dramatically since the implementation of the legacy application platforms most institutions are running today. Custom, file-based, daily, weekly, and monthly integrations were standard ways to move data at the time. These integrations often involved complex logic to meet the needs of the receiving systems. They could take months to develop, test, and deploy, and they were expensive to change. Fast-forward to today, and most vendors offer APIs that allow for integration (often with preconfigured connectors between systems) with a focus on more near-real-time data movement. In addition, there’s an entire industry of integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offering integrations that are simpler to create and maintain.
In order to manage the many cloud applications that most institutions have subscribed to and the many on-premises applications remaining, institutions should look to modernize their integration practices to reduce the cost, time, and risk of moving data between critical systems.
For most institutions, there are impediments to adoption, including developer resistance, lack of a broad data management strategy, lack of training, or an overly aggressive implementation path. A thorough, strategic plan for adoption and strong change management practices are required to make this shift successfully. The benefits, however, are clear. For institutions that have successfully implemented a holistic strategy around integration, we find increased agility and reduced development and maintenance effort to accomplish business objectives.
So if you’re contemplating modernizing your integration toolset, think first about strategy. Then take the strategy to your team and customers to agree on goals and review the potential benefits before you look at tools. A tool-first approach can set back your strategy for months or years. The advantages may not be obvious for developers, but the change in how they do their jobs will be. The advantages may also not be clear to customers, but it’s hard to argue with faster deployment and less expensive support!
For a deeper look, using our research on the topic can help you align your strategy and choose a solution.
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