Software AG was one of the premier sponsors of the recently concluded Gartner AADI conference earlier this month. This year's AADI was very well attended and included some very interesting speakers.
One of the topic discussed by several analysts was that Integration is becoming more pervasive and its not confined to IT anymore. Business users with some technical skills are now inclined to integrate their application with other systems that they use on a daily basis on their own. This type of user is called a citizen integrator.
So, the million dollar question for IT managers is - Are your ready for the citizen integrator?
Integrating systems is one of the most complex problems in IT and it's becoming even more complex as more and more apps, devices and sensors need to be integrated. Well established integration tools like webMethods provide a very powerful and sophisticated way to connect IT applications used by different business units.
Now with the advent of cloud based applications, business units are adopting cloud based apps like there is no tomorrow. Once the business unit starts using the app, the reality that its not integrated with any other app sinks in. Then begins the race to integrate it and 2 things happen.
1. Business users or citizen developers try to integrate this with other applications on their own.
2. They bring IT in and try to convince them to squeeze their budget and build brand new interfaces.
Both these situations pose significant challenges for IT. First situation may result in citizen developer using new and unproven technologies and even expose security and compliance risks. Second situation may result in delayed integration of the system resulting poor usage of the cloud application as IT was simply not kept in the loop.
Whats should the IT do as it cannot control the lines of business from acting on their own?
IT needs to understand that the traditional roles have been changing and needs to become the collaborator rather than the controller. Business units may buy their devices, data plans, cloud apps and even network bandwidth but ultimately it will be IT which will be ultimately accountable for security and compliance. IT needs to develop a collaborative framework where business units manage the procurement and adoption while IT manages the critical aspects of data security, compliance and integration.
IT needs to mentor, guide and coach the citizen integrator and develop guidelines that they can follow. Taking it to the next step, it can build templates for integration with commonly used cloud apps that can then be used by the citizen integrator. CloudStreams is a webMethods based tool which enables Cloud Integration. If you use webMethods today, take a look at CloudStreams and start enabling your citizen integrator today.