IDC defines integration software as a set of technologies that enable organisations to control the quality of information by ensuring that it remains complete, consistent, and current across the entire portfolio of applications that define the operations of the business.
The e-business movement is fuelling the rapid growth of the market. Prior to e-business, the principal motivation for integration projects was one of internal efficiency. Now successful e-business mandates the implementation of complete and immediate consistency across all IT systems with which customers and partners interface – even if the level of interface is indirect.
Failure to deliver completely consistent information leads to lack of trust, and e-business cannot function in such an environment.
“E-business changes everything, and one of the variables it impacts most is the acceptable degree of integration of our IT services. E-business exposes business processes to the outside world. Generally the experience is more positive if some preparatory work is done,” said Rob Hailstone, research director for IDC’s European Infrastructure Software research group.
“The exposed interface may provide the only direct experience of the company to the outside world. Exposing basic functional processes such as sales order processing and account management will rarely provide the type of customer experience by which a company wishes to be judged,” he said.
“Many companies have jumped aboard e-business as if it were a moving train, and without necessarily looking where it is headed. Customers wishing to put in place an integration infrastructure that will not itself become a legacy constraint need to understand the role e-business is playing.”