If you need to change or migrate your integration/interface engine software, choosing the best alternative can be an enormous challenge for an IT department. But getting it right can be one of the biggest opportunities to reap competitive advantage.
Integration software itself is supposed to ease the integration burden by providing the functionality to link applications together and provide consistent access to information. In practice, integration engine software can create as many integration problems as it solves, if care is not taken to adopt a coherent strategy for enterprise application integration (EAI). Because exactly as most large enterprises have a variety of different Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) systems, due to acquisitions for example, so they may have integration engine software from more than one supplier.
And yet, changing integration engine software on any scale can be difficult and expensive. In practice people seldom change established integration engine software unless either the underlying operating system or too slow in keeping up with rapid changing healthcare data standards.
Typically, we see customers reconsidering their integration suites for one of the following reasons:
- They have an old integration environment / integration engine software – for example eGate, Sybase eBiz or like JCAPS – which in some cases may not be supported by the product vendors anymore. We help them to shore up their systems, or to select and migrate to new systems like Rhapsody or Cloverleaf.
- They have some integration engine software but are considering migrating to Cloud – we help them to develop their strategy and implement it.
- They have integration engine software but are not using it optimally – we often do integration reviews for customers, and find many ways they can be getting more from their systems, and help them fix problems which they have sometimes been struggling with for years.
- They have no integration engine software at all, with disparate systems which are not integrated in any way – we help them develop an integration strategy where applicable, perhaps select an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), and then design and implement it for them.
So, if you are in this position and you are not sure where to start, here are some general guidelines:
- Develop a full understanding of why you need to make changes and work out what is required – for example greater ability to integrate with other systems you have.
Here are some typical advantages organizations are looking for:
- Improved agility – the ability to deliver services across mobile, cloud and traditional application platforms. The State-of-the-art integration engine software technology can help rationalize legacy IT systems into reusable, general-purpose functionality blocks that facilitate quicker changes to business processes. As a result, the business is better supported for changes in products and services as well as the introduction of new channels.
- Increased efficiency – Smart managers are streamlining the way they do business by automating their business processes with state-of-the-art integration engine software technology. The automation of processes and the ability to access in real time relevant information from diverse systems to gain greater insight, decreases costs associated with a staff member performing the setup manually. It also reduces the cycle time and ultimately increases the total volume of business due to increased simplicity of customer interactions.
- Rapid innovation – Product development cycles need to be shorter to introduce new, innovative products before competitors. An IT landscape of reusable software services will help the business roll out new products and services faster while maintaining lower development costs.
- Consider the change in the light of overall IT strategy. For example, you may be implementing mobile applications in which case the new integration engine software must be capable of supporting pervasive computing and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) enabled devices.
- Assess the features required. Typical features include asynchronous message queuing, message broking which facilitates synchronous and more tightly integrated processes, support for distributed transactions, security, access to legacy systems, and support for small mobile devices.
- Look at the products. Many suppliers call their products integration engine software, but with wide differences in functionality, capability and all-round coverage. A key point to consider is what level of integration is needed.
- Run a pilot project. Especially if a major change of integration engine software right across an enterprise is being considered.
- Start by migrating just one application. If the new integration engine software cannot cope, perhaps lacking sufficient support for key emerging standards such as Compact XML for small devices, then it is less costly to withdraw at this stage.
- Review the initial migration thoroughly before committing the whole enterprise.
- Determine the roadmap for future platform evolution, skills required, and define the enterprise’s own integration engine software architecture accordingly. Do not rely entirely on the supplier for this.
- If all appears well, plan the full roll-out.
However, if any of this appears daunting, help is at hand. We have been in the integration business for years, why not contact us and get some advice before you get started? We have seen our approach save many customers time and money, and potentially a big headache somewhere down the line. In addition, you can maximize on your investment and ensure you get the full benefit from whatever solution you have selected, and be sure you’ve implemented it in the best way possible, with the minimum disruption.
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