I am a big fan of David Norfolk at Bloor Research. He has just posted an excellent commentary on one of my favorite topics: the state of tool-to-tool integration in IT, and he quotes me referring to our industry’s “dirty little secret” about how exactly integrations work.
He takes an optimistic view that the issues with integrating vendor tools is improving. And I think, for the most part, he’s right. The move to web services-based API’s significantly improves the ability of users to craft the integrations they need and do it in such a way that allows for light bindings that can be updated and replaced easily over time.
This is a good start. But what also needs to happen is that the crafting of the integrations become much easier. Stitching together WSDL’s is just as time consuming and error prone as configuring an older style, parameter-driven, API. The introduction of modern, visual tools for combining, orchestrating and automating tool-to-tool integrations (and human-to-human, human-to-tool and tool-to-human integrations) has to go hand-in-hand with the introduction of services-based API’s.
The other point that if often overlooked is that point-to-point integrations of yesteryear had a simple, usually uni-directional, process model they were following. But now, with modern automation tools, it is possible to create case-specific integrations.
I look forward to hearing more from David as he develops this theme.