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What is an integration strategy?

In the world of enterprise integration, an integration strategy is what businesses use to align the growing number of third-party systems, data, and applications in their ecosystem to business goals. 

According to the 2019 Connectivity Benchmark report, 85% of IT leaders say they are working toward digital transformation initiatives. One of the most integral aspects of digital transformation is an integration strategy. 


What is an integration strategy? 

To understand what an integration strategy is, you first need to understand system integration. Integration is the process of connecting multiple enterprise systems, devices, or applications to work as a whole. An integration strategy involves the process, methods, and steps an IT team will take to deliver on the business integration needs.

Companies integrate their systems in multiple ways, one of which is API-led connectivity. An API, or application programming interface, is a software intermediary that allows two systems to communicate with each other and share data across interfaces. 

Organizations that treat APIs as products witness increased productivity (62%), greater ability across teams to self-serve IT (58%), and increased innovation (49%). 

Building an API integration strategy

To fully benefit from productized APIs, companies must have an integration strategy in place. Over half of enterprises (53%) have more than 800 applications, while some (43%) have more than 1,000. IT teams that think about integrating these systems strategically see more success from their API integrations. 

IT teams are now considering the true potential for connectivity as businesses tackle digital transformation.

The first step to building an API integration strategy is collecting information about known systems. Ask line of business teams which systems and applications they are currently using and what they may add to their tech stack in the future.

Also, consider different integration strategy techniques:

  • Big-bang approach: Integrating all systems at once. 
  • Integration “with the stream:” Integrating systems on a project-by-project basis.
  • Incremental: Integrating systems in priority order, focusing on a few systems at a time. 
  • Top-down/bottom-up: Integrating in order of system’s utilization/importance or in the opposite order.

The value of an integration strategy

Without an integration strategy, IT teams integrate systems on an ad-hoc basis. This prevents innovation and slows down an enterprise's journey toward digital transformation, as IT teams spend more time on low-level integration tasks. 

Approximately 83% of organizations undergoing digital transformation want to drive IT efficiency. Building an integration strategy helps IT teams take a deliberate approach to their integration projects, which drives business efficiency.

For more on the value of integration, download our eBook.

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