Learn how AI-powered Automation can transform the integration lifecycle and why it makes sense to deploy it in your own organization.
This article is sponsored and originally appeared on IBM.com.
In this era of digital transformation, organizations are facing a surge in data and processes. Hyperautomation, the concept of automating as much as possible to run without human intervention, enables IT teams to manage the surge without requiring more resources.
But does automation really work with application integration, where you traditionally need skilled specialists to connect your infrastructure, operations, and data processes?
AI-powered Automation brings an innovative approach to integration, increasing the speed and lowering the costs of integration projects. Though there are many reasons to automate your integrations, we’ll cover the top four.
What is automation in integration?
In integration, automation refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI), repeatable formats and low-cost tooling to connect disparate systems and applications from multiple solution providers. The latest automation solutions use operational data to get deeper insights and continuously improve the quality of integrations.
The value of automated integration
Automation is everywhere, with investments on the rise. In a 2020 Deloitte survey of executives worldwide, 73% of respondents said their organizations had embarked on a path to intelligent automation (up from 58% in 2019).
By automating tasks, organizations can develop end-to-end business processes that are more efficient, reliable and scalable. In fact, Gartner expects that by 2023, organizations will be able to run 25% more tasks autonomously.
Four reasons to use automation in integration
Reason 1: Accelerate integration development
Traditional integrations are often time-consuming and costly, requiring systems integrators to make the connections between heterogeneous platforms. Manufacturing systems, project management applications, and customer support portals all need to communicate in real time. But linking them with point-to-point, custom-coded connections can be a maintenance headache. Change or upgrade one system, and you risk breaking all the links.
Automation enables extended teams to create integrations faster. Low-code/no-code integration tooling can leverage built-in natural language processing (NLP) and AI to offer smarter mapping outcomes. Robotic process automation (RPA) helps simplify integrations with legacy apps. The latest tools also come with a shareable asset repository to enable easy reuse of assets, which accelerates integrations.
Reason 2: Boost integration quality
Many vendors are all about the speed of automation systems, but speed isn’t everything. An API built too quickly or without proper testing can cause significant rework, costing time and money and impacting application performance and, ultimately, reputation.
Automation improves the quality of integrations. Robust automation tools apply AI to real-world operational data to get continuous feedback for optimizations, specific to your organization. The embedded AI can provide workflow and field-mapping recommendations, create smarter API test cases and help uncover inefficiencies in your current environment.
Reason 3: Increase efficiency and reduce costs
In our rapidly changing world, flexibility is essential. Organizations have a mix of legacy systems, cloud-native apps and everything in between. A one-size-fits-all style of integration doesn’t fit the realities of today’s environments (or today’s budget constraints).
The latest automation tools are ready for the hybrid IT world, with multiple stakeholders and styles of integration. Key capabilities range from creating app-integration flows and exposing the work for reuse via an API to having continuous backend availability for updates using business-critical messaging. This helps you avoid the multiple licensing fees and complexities of other approaches.
Reason 4: Ensure security, governance and availability
Integration projects can expose organizations to business and security risks. The more human intervention required, the more chance for human errors by end users. Cloud integration also expands the need for robust security and compliance support.
Automated integration enables organizations to update systems of record with integrity and at scale. The latest tools include protection for data at rest and in motion, which is often a regulatory requirement. Resiliency features and auto-scaling functionality help ensure that backend systems can manage workloads without costly and disruptive changes. Organizations can also identify deployment, operations and security issues as they happen, providing data to feed AI for future best practices and asset protection.
Automation, integration and IBM
IBM cloud integration solutions are built on top of powerful automation services so you can rapidly connect applications and share data across an entire ecosystem. Our AI-accelerated approach enables extended teams to meet escalating demand, help reduce costs and increase operational agility.
Find out more about modernizing your integration projects with IBM Cloud Pak® for Integration, which includes everything you need for API management, application and data integration, messaging and events, high-speed data transfers and end-to-end security. Then, to get an expert perspective on your current integration strategy, take our integration assessment.