With such a plethora of software choices and platforms that solve specific needs, integrating new platforms and software is extremely important if the goal of your company is to operate in realtime. If your company does not operate from a single platform that acts as a system broker and federates the exchange of information between systems, your company is failing and should be alarmed. If your company has more than one brokering platform, the company is even worse off because more than likely the brokers are disconnected. Resultantly, your company did not solve the original disparate systems problem.
A highly integrated approach runs circles around varying components fused with complex programming and unique applications. Most vendors sell components that must be modified to meet each customer’s unique needs and individual areas of a business. Expensive consultants and systems integrators glue the pieces together, resulting in a new software configuration for each customer. As new versions of the software are released, the customized configurations must be upgraded and reintegrated—all at the time and expense of the customer.
If you’re serious about operating in real-time, then you should have a team of highly skilled individuals that understand federation and platform brokering, also known as integration. Not just a team, but a well trained and knowledgeable team. Don’t take the expertise factor lightly. An unseasoned and inexperienced team can cause more harm implementing a federation layer than not having one at all.
System integrators are in abundance. Their existence is the result of sometimes rash decisions to solve an immediate problem by buying additional software, which may not be plug-and-play friendly. It’s understandable that difficult decisions paired with emotion and lack of knowledge of one’s own system can lead to an additional software purchase that fixes what ails you now. However, consultants exist to provide advice before a purchase, not after the purchase, to fix what is broken and potentially avoidable. Integration considerations also include the ramifications of additional software purchases. Bring in a consultant for his or her experience in stopping problems before they happen instead of fixing the broken pieces formed by a lack of knowledge regarding optimal integration implementation.