Integration needs in companies are very complex and serve a wide variety of requirements. For each integration task, therefore, special knowledge and skills are required of the integration staff. This knowledge and the corresponding programming skills will differ depending on what is being integrated and why. Accordingly, a number of different integration personas have emerged to meet these various requirements. In this article, we will be looking at the ad-hoc integrator.
Citizen integrator vs. ad-hoc integrator
Who is best suited for which integration tasks? That is a legitimate question considering the increasing number of people involved in integration. You may have already heard of the citizen integrator. They are often a data expert, for example a data scientist or data analyst, whose core tasks don’t include programming. However, in order to be able to do their job, they must inevitably deal with integration issues to make the data required for analysis accessible and usable.
An ad-hoc-Integrator, on the other hand, has proven programming skills. As a rule, they work in software development or IT administration. However, even for an ad-hoc integrator, integration tends to be something they do on the side, and with the goal of supporting their development or administration work. An ad-hoc integrator from IT administration will look for integration solutions that help them to manage applications, data or IT processes and access the data from these. The software developer, on the other hand, will go for solutions that support them in their developer tasks, by implementing APIs, or using code-based or micro-service based integration approaches.
What does an ad-hoc integrator do?
An ad-hoc integrator who works in IT administration or software development works with or develops in-house applications and tools for managing or automating business processes. They are entrusted with digitally integrating and managing machines, processes and systems to enable IIoT and digital twins. They manage master data and/or make data available for analytics. This includes tasks such as API integration and API management. In order to be able to carry out their administration or developer tasks well, their tasks range from procuring software from a cloud, integrating on-premises applications, mobile end devices and legacy systems, and getting data flowing between these.
Due to the strategic modernisation of IT applications, API integration or even networking applications, the demand for integrating systems and employees skilled enough to do this, such as an ad-hoc integrator, is constantly increasing. However, the range and sheer amount of potentially useful data sources, where they are, and what they need integrating with, means it’s a challenge for the ad-hoc integrator to always be able to identify and implement the right integration pattern.
What integration scenarios may an ad-hoc integrator encounter?
Whether connecting company systems or helping build an entire ecosystem and integrating external platforms, suppliers’ systems, etc., an ad-hoc integrator could have to deal with a wide range of integration tasks. Is the integration cloud-based or through on-premises software? Are they dealing with a modern API-based architecture, with legacy systems, or a combination of the two? Let’s take a look at three common scenarios:
- An iPaaS gives the ad-hoc integrator the benefits of an infrastructure delivered via the cloud. The entire integration platform is run from a cloud, where it is set up and maintained by an external provider. If you then use connectors to link up with increasingly popular cloud-based services such as software-as-a-service (SaaS for short), the result is a full iPaaS solution. With an iPaaS, an ad-hoc integrator can set up processes between different applications without the workload associated with running their own integration platform.
- An API-led data-centric architecture provides the ad-hoc integrator with data from a wide variety of sources and in a wide variety of formats. This is combined and consolidated in an integration layer or a central data layer and can be accessed by all applications. Fronted by APIs, it doesn’t really matter what the backend infrastructure is like. A professional API solution makes it easy for an ad-hoc integrator to deal with any data integration, data provisioning or data security challenge.
- If the ad-hoc integrator develops or manages solutions for consolidating and providing data for an organisation with a service-orientated architecture, they will be well acquainted with the traditional enterprise service bus (ESB). This lets them neatly connect any applications not directly linked to each other via a central bus.
What support does an ad-hoc integrator need?
An ad-hoc integrator describes someone who has extensive professional IT skills, but whose core work is not necessarily in IT, rather within a department. This harbours the risk that the integration work they do may not meet necessary IT standards in regards to:
- ensuring compliance with quality and security regulations, such as API security,
- complying with specifications and guidelines required for certain certification,
- documenting and ensuring reusability of integration measures, such as maintaining an API catalogue or ensuring full lifecycle management for an API.
Ad-hoc integrators offer valuable support to a company’s IT department in an integration project.
In order to keep up with your ever increasing integration needs, it makes sense to delegate some of the tasks to people outside your IT department. This reduces the workload for the full-time integration specialists. An ad-hoc integrator can provide more support than a citizen integrator, as he or she comes from an IT environment and has professional IT knowledge. Nevertheless, you still need to ensure that all the integration projects in your company are professionally coordinated and monitored by your IT department to avoid a tumbleweed of integrations and to comply with security requirements.
How can SEEBURGER help?
SEEBURGER cloud services allow simple, transparent and secure integration and electronic exchange of data with business partners. The SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite is a complete solution from one single source, with modular services that can be combined as required at any time. Regardless of whether internal company systems are to be connected or entire ecosystems with suppliers and external platforms are to be newly established – the possibilities of the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite are as varied as your company itself. Whether on-premises in the private cloud, in a public cloud, as iPaaS or as a full service integration platform in the SEEBURGER Cloud – we have the right solution for your integration challenge. Contact us today to find the optimal solution for your requirements!
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Written by: Dr. Martin KuntzDr. Martin Kuntz has worked for SEEBURGER AG since 2000, and is a member of the Board of Directors since 2015. His strengths lie in the Cloud, business applications, and the digitalization of specialty and technical business processes. He has degrees in physics and business administration. Earlier, he worked for several years in the Simulation department of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology and for Airbus subsidiary Airbus Defence and Space.