We hear so much these days about agile enterprises and agility in software, but what does that mean? An agile enterprise responds quickly to unexpected opportunities, buys companies and spins some off. It changes the product line to accommodate surprise trends, and can change its business processes almost overnight. While the spirit may be agile, the constraining element is invariably the underlying IT infrastructure’s ballast. The word “ballast” is defined as a heavy material used to enhance stability. That was definitely important in the late 1990s and early 2000s when companies needed to consolidate their disperse infrastructures and applications. The integration architectures that are prevalent today came from that era, but the ballast has outlived its usefulness. Organizations simply cannot be responsive when changes in the integration infrastructure are measured in months and years rather than minutes and days.
How are these companies going to keep up with competitors that were invented after the Internet grew up? They must be able to leverage their proven experience and valuable existing applications on a new playing field, and the way to do it is to replace the ballast with Agile Integration Software [AIS].
Stone Bond Technologies, LP has identified the following 10 elements that can help you identify an AIS. Some of these points will be found in special-purpose platforms such as standards-based B2B like EDI, limited scope integration around a particular endpoint like SAP, or SOA platforms. Remember, though, that we are looking for enterprise-level software that suits more than 90 percent of the integration needs of the enterprise, and allows it to keep up with and even outrun the youthful new competitors. You will find that all 10 of these characteristics must be present and working together, in order to deliver the agility your organization needs to be competitive.
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