5 Evaluation Criteria for Choosing an Integration Solution

A recent report, “The Forrester Wave™: Strategic iPaaS And Hybrid Integration Platforms, Q1 2019,” by Forrester Research identifies a growing interest in integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) and hybrid integration platform (HIP) solutions among enterprise architecture (EA) professionals.

The report cites that “the integration technologies strategic iPaaS and HIP are a cornerstone of the evolution required to support digital transformation” for two reasons:

Manage data in motion in a faster landscape using software-as-a-service (SaaS)

  • The growth of global supply chains, e-commerce, just-in-time manufacturing and partnerships between disparate organizations have made real-time or near-real-time data sharing imperative for enterprises to be successful. For example, when an online shopper can see that her first choice of item is not in stock, she has an option to wait for the item or select another. This immediate transparency translates to a better shopping experience and a satisfied customer.

Improve the automation of IT and the business.

  • In addition to managing large volumes of data from multiple sources, integration technologies can also improve the flexibility of the organization’s IT processes. As the Forrester report points out, “As interfaces become more complex — with larger volumes, event treatments rather than batches, increased data structure complexity, and more — there’s no alternative to using integration technologies to automate the monitoring, development, and maintenance of interfaces.”

To implement the right strategic IPaaS or HIP for your company’s digital transformation needs, you need the right solution from the right vendor. In its report, Forrester evaluated 15 vendors, including Liaison Technologies, an OpenText company. Other vendors evaluated were Adeptia, Axway, Dell Boomi, IBM, Jitterbit, Microsoft, MuleSoft, Pantheon, Red Hat, SnapLogic, Software AG, Talend, TIBCO Software, and Workato.

Reviewing feedback from actual customers in reports such as Forrester’s is valuable as your organization determines its integration and data management architecture needs for digital transformation.

While reading the evaluations of the different vendors in the report, it was no surprise to see that ease of use, ease of adoption and ease of deployment were identified most often by EA professionals using those solutions as what they appreciate the most. It is also helpful to consider the responses of EA professionals in the report to identify features that may be important to your organization. What features are present in most vendors’ solutions and what features might be missing?

We at OpenText (previously Liaison Technologies)  believe the following are key considerations when selecting the right IPaaS and HIP solution for your digital transformation needs:

  • Make sure that the vendor’s solution and experience fits your requirements. Does the vendor understand your industry, your business challenges and nuances such as compliance requirements?
  • Ease of use, adoption and deployment should be the starting point for any choice, to avoid downtime or unnecessary burden on employees or customers – or additional costs to the organization for lost sales or staff training.
  • Look for features that were appreciated by survey respondents: flexible architecture that is easily scalable as business needs change, ability to use B2B integration, EDI or APIs as needed, and the ability to share data across disparate sources, programs and applications.
  • Evaluate specific features mentioned by EA professionals who are pleased with their integration solutions but also consider the areas for improvement that were identified. These include integrated analytics, enhanced support for message-oriented-middleware, additional language support, platform administration, capabilities for API creation and management and IoT integration.
  • Consider your organization’s in-house resources. Do you have the staff needed to monitor and maintain an integration platform? If not, do you have the resources to add the staff to your organization in time to deploy the solution? If not, look carefully at the vendor’s level of support that will be provided.

OpenText was pleased to be featured in this important Forrester Wave. We were not only named a strong performer for our Alloy platform, but also received the highest score possible, a five, in the strategy category. Our solution takes a different approach from many of the solutions evaluated in the report. While other solutions focus on equipping developers and business users with self-service tools, Alloy offers integration and data management as a managed service.

The Forrester report states that “customers choose Liaison (OpenText) when their digital transformation involves their ecosystem using B2B integration, EDI, or APIs, and they appreciate the ease of deployment, which Liaison  (OpenText) fully manages. They also appreciate the quality of the relationship, seeing Liaison (OpenText) more as a partner than a software vendor.”

By moving all responsibility for maintaining, upgrading and monitoring the integration platform to their vendor, these professionals were able to focus on maximizing the use of data rather than maintaining skills and staff to integrate the business.

Selecting an integration solution is a critical strategic step toward digital transformation for any organization, and the best solution is based on the organization’s specific needs today and in the future. Finding the right provider is essential to create a partnership that can grow and evolve as technology and business needs change.

To learn more about the features and capabilities that EA professionals appreciate in iPaaS and hybrid integration platforms, click here to read the “The Forrester Wave™: Strategic iPaaS And Hybrid Integration Platforms, Q1 2019”.

To learn more about OpenText™ Alloy™, click here.

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