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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Is your agency’s integration platform future proof?

The purchasing ease and efficiency brought by one-click shopping and voice-enabled virtual assistants    have set a new bar for government digital service delivery and increased agencies' need for greater integration capabilities. Platforms will have to be upgraded to support disruptive technology that did not exist even two years ago.

Both the public and private sectors  are realizing that without strong integration, digital transformation will stall. Further, with the advent of machine learning, hybrid platforms and the internet of things, integration platforms must also be able to rapidly evolve to keep pace with changing IT landscapes. 

Below are seven trends that depend on integration platforms:

1. Chatbots and virtual assistants will become the #1 driver for user experience. Constituent-facing representatives will use robotic assistants to ensure that citizens receive the fastest, most efficient service possible. Integration providers must enable agencies to provide a seamless customer experience and ensure they never have to place an incoming call on hold.

2. Application programming interfaces and B2B integration will drive the next generation of interactions. Many government agencies use commercial business-to-business platforms for agency-to-agency integration. Agencies can add APIs on top of B2B platforms to create more-robust systems that provide instant results for customers making queries. This will be particularly relevant to health care and military agencies, ensuring the best and fastest responses possible. 

3. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make integrations smarter. Integration projects can be complex and time consuming; developers must understand the information coming into the platform and map it to its logical place where something can be done it. For government agencies managing complex supply chains, this could mean translating, mapping and the orchestrating multiple suppliers' information. “Mapping bots” could become commonplace for simpler data such as names and contact information, while human beings will still be needed as integration specialists. 

4. The physical will increasingly connect with the digital. Incorporating sensors into business processes will change the way people think about the possibilities for their integration platforms. Connecting and managing the millions of sensors available for integration with business systems is essential to a successful IoT strategy. Much in the way big data changed the way organizations handle massive datasets, combining sensor data with business data will change the characteristics of traditional integration projects.

5. Hybrid integration platforms will drive convergence of iPaaS and IoT cloud platforms. Instead of IoT devices sending information to on-premise integration platforms, they will become an edge-based extension of integration. Convergence of IoT and integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) will require hybrid integration platforms that offer scale and complex integrations for IoT projects.

6. DevOps is going mainstream and microservices will bridge the chasm. Microservices is the buzzword for 2018, and everyone is trying it for scalability and superfast apps. Technology architectures add new features every day, but users cannot afford any downtime to manage them. Microservices offer the ability to do this, but devops is needed for fast deployment. Microservices and devops will go hand-in-hand.

7. Multiple clouds become the norm and integration can stitch them all together. It's becoming more common that organizations use more than one cloud for hosting their application architectures. If the clouds are not integrated and able to “talk” to each other, organizations risk having information silos that create errors and wastes time.

Government agencies must keep up with the latest applications and devices because integration complexity will only skyrocket. It’s time to revisit your organization’s integration platform capabilities to make sure it will meet future demands.

About the Author

Scott Guenther is principal systems engineer at Software AG Government Solutions.

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