Rip and replace not required: why hybrid integration works best

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With the evolution of technology making competition more aggressive, businesses are increasingly feeling the pressure to accelerate their own digital transformation. But even with the clock ticking, the bold step of moving everything to the cloud in one fell swoop is a gambit fraught with danger.

The sense of urgency to transform doesn’t only come from the need to stay competitive. An enterprise might be built on legacy hardware and software that is approaching – or has passed – its end of life. With cybercrime increasing in tenaciousness and sophistication, the stability and security concerns of depending on an unsupported infrastructure can make an overnight transformation seem tempting.

But business continuity is of overarching importance, and this is something that’s put at extreme risk by the rip-and-replace approach of moving immediately from legacy systems to the cloud. With little or no safety net in place, it is not the transformation quick fix that it seems.

Hybrid integration: the best of both worlds

A far better approach is to implement a hybrid integration strategy. Hybrid integration is a framework of on-premises and cloud-based functionalities that utilize APIs to allow multiple applications to talk to each other. These could reside on systems anywhere inside or outside the enterprise, in multiple clouds, or on legacy environments.

The discrete nature of these APIs means that newer systems can be put in place without impacting mission-critical legacy infrastructure. In fact, hybrid integration allows the creation of powerful composite applications that rest on the shoulders of giants and are able to use data surfaced from multiple other applications via APIs. This not only fosters innovation but can lead to the development of new services – and new revenue streams.

This approach greatly reduces the risks associated with migration. New systems can be tested and run in isolation or in parallel with core legacy systems, which can, in turn, continue to run without interruption or compromise. A hybrid integration approach enables a business to create a platform where the old and new systems and applications can connect and work together.

One size doesn’t fit all

Adopting this method also alleviates a lot of the pressure. Hybrid integration gives a business the freedom to set its own pace for innovation and allows it to develop a roadmap that suits its business plan; rather than trying to reprioritize everything to meet a suddenly looming deadline. Companies are free to make the move to the cloud when they’re comfortable doing so.

This approach makes a lot of sense. Just as no two companies are alike, neither will their approaches to digital transformation be. Some companies may see hybrid integration as a permanent solution while others might view it as a stepping stone to a complete move to the cloud. Even close competitors with similar goals might have very different projects or initiatives that result in very different timescales.

The integration dividend

Hybrid integration divides businesses into two silos: integrators and deliberators. Integrators are those who are adapting to new technologies and ways of doing business; Deliberators are those holding on to older ways of working.

The benefits of being an integrator are considerable. 78% of integrators agree that their integrations are highly scalable; only 8% of deliberators can say the same.

A robust hybrid integration strategy gives a business the ability to be as flexible, scalable and innovative as it needs to be.

Start small – but make sure you get started

“To succeed in the 
API economy, you also need a change of mindset: adopting a new IT operational model that  
is optimized for consumption, reusability, and self-service. This is not achieved overnight and requires practice.”

David Chao, Head of Product Marketing, Mulesoft

That mindset is vitally important. Hybrid integration involves more than just bolting new systems on top of older ones – it needs a holistic approach. Without an overall strategic blueprint, any attempt at transformation will quickly grind to a halt.

No matter how tricky, is important to make a start. Smaller, cherry-picked projects within a larger strategy can provide the cornerstones for digital transformation, but it’s important that they are the right projects each time.

The best solution is to find an external partner with a proven track record in hybrid integration, a partner that can help your business identify the right tools and capabilities – as well as culturally prepare your firm to adapt to this new, more agile way of working.

To find out more about how hybrid integration can transform your business, download our research report, Unlocking the hybrid integration dividend and visit Capgemini’s website for more details.

Rip and replace is undoubtedly a bold way of moving forward. But it’s worth considering that it doesn’t take too many things to go wrong before “rip” becomes “RIP.”

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