From The Expert Feature Article
January 28, 2013

2013 Forecast: Increasing Complexity Drives Growth in Cloud, Data Integration and Managed Services

By TMCnet Special Guest
Bob Renner, President and CEO, Liaison Technologies

As the complexity of business environments continues to increase, so too does the demand for the integration of disparate systems across the organization. The demand for increased integration brings challenges of its own, however, especially around data management. The reality is that with the introduction of cloud and SaaS (News - Alert) applications, even classic B2B integration is more challenging than ever before.

With data volume, variety and velocity on the rise with no slowdown in sight, companies are beginning to come to terms with the fact that integration and data management are a foundational element of a solid, scalable IT architecture. In turn, they are looking for comprehensive solutions that will help them navigate these increasingly murky integration and management waters, and lead to long-term successful outcomes. 

With these challenges and complexities in mind, here’s what I see down the road in 2013:

Cloud adoption drives convergence of integration solutions

The days of integration in a silo – including Application to Application (A2A), Business to Business (B2B), Managed File Transfer (MFT) and Business Process Management (BPM) – are coming to a close as companies moving to the cloud actively seek out end-to-end data integration solutions. As this convergence takes hold, I expect to see it profoundly impact multiple areas within IT organizations, including internal Centers of Excellence, vendors, and overall IT sourcing/deployment strategies.  While this sea change may create some temporary upheaval as organizations adjust to the new model, ultimately this will be a positive shift for the industry, leading to more comprehensive and “data aware” integration architectures within the next few years.

Managed services remain the “secret sauce” of successful integration

When it comes to cooking up a successful combination of integration and data management, I believe that a blend of technology, people and processes will prove to be the secret sauce. As concerns around data security and increased regulation continue to grow in tandem with the diversification and federation of structured and unstructured data, companies are recognizing that technology alone cannot rise to meet complex integration challenges.  As such, we expect to see growing recognition of the critical human ingredient in successful integration projects.

Services companies deliver the knockout punch to their software brethren in the fight for the cloud

As the race to the cloud accelerates, so too will the pace of M&A activity as major providers look to rapidly onboard and deliver technologies that meet enterprise demand. The growing pressure to evolve to a cloud business model will force a widening gap between those who can successfully acquire or develop these solutions, and those who cannot. I anticipate that leading Cloud Integration Brokers, as well as service companies, such as IBM (News - Alert) and Accenture, will have the upper hand in winning the battle for the cloud given their experience seeking out, onboarding, and integrating diverse offerings to drive value for their customers. Of course, at the end of the day, expect customers to emerge as the ultimate victors as this fierce competition opens up great diversity of solutions and increased flexibility of pricing models.  

Healthcare and other vertical markets set their sights on the private sector for integration solutions that make data actionable

As private healthcare organizations and government-funded Health Information Exchanges (HIE’s) continue struggling to find a long-term sustainable business model, expect to see a major upswing in demand for private sector data integration networks.  The bleak reality is that a large portion of government-funded HIEs – up to 90 percent, in fact – will likely fail to reach sustainability by 2016, with many on track to completely exhaust their initial grants on maintenance of basic infrastructure integration. In order to divert this troublesome trajectory, I anticipate increased demand from a variety of vertical market sectors, including healthcare, for proven private sector integration solutions that generate actionable insights from organizational data that empower business to provide greater value-add to their constituencies.  

Bob Renner is the President and CEO of Liaison Technologies. He has been in this role since 2002 and has successfully executed nine corporate acquisitions in the US and Europe. He acted as Liaison’s Chief Technology Officer in the company’s startup phase from 2000 – 2002.

Edited by Brooke Neuman