Connecting data sources – be they in the cloud or on-prem – has always been complex to achieve. And as cloud adoption continues to grow, data sources are becoming even more disparate. Introduce legacy systems into the mix and there are even more challenges on the table.
So, how can businesses get around this problem? And moreover, how can they solve some of the issues typically associated with system integration – that could be holding them back?
We spoke to Head of Application Development, Trevor Dagg, and Business Solutions Architect, Mick Quinlan to find a solution.
What are some of the shared challenges that businesses are facing today in terms of connected data services?
Trevor: When it comes to data integration services, there are a couple of challenges, that companies are facing – especially when it comes to digital transformation.
Organisations will always have certain internal systems that do key functions and these systems don’t always talk to each other.
Additionally, some of these systems may be legacy systems which can often be heavily regulated from a compliance and quality perspective, or they may be secured in a different way in which case they can be quite siloed.
So, how do you connect each of these environments to allow the business to function in a dynamic way and still get that information in a real time manner?
One potential solution is to build a data lake where you’re pulling all this information into one place and then running your analysis on top of this one pool of data. But the challenge with doing this, is that these solutions are typically quite expensive, and they need a specialist skillset. They also tend to be complex, time consuming and can use up a lot of resources.
Another solution is to develop scripts that will get one system to talk to another. In some cases, they might have pre-existing integrations (APIs). But depending on the type of system and where it’s located, it may not have those APIs.
So, you need to create a customised piece of code, and the challenge with this is that you need an individual with specialist skills to develop those scripts. And often, what you will find is, once those scripts are up and running, if a change is made to the system or the system is upgraded, it will tend to break the script. Another potential challenge is having a key person dependency – becoming reliant on one or two people who write the scripts it can be a real problem.
So, what is the solution for connecting different data sources?
Trevor: What we can do, is provide you with a cloud service that, as an integration platform, allows you to connect your data sources using a consistent low code solution and mechanism. Instead of having scripts, you leave the data sources where they are – meaning you don’t need a data lake – and use a platform, which is a type of middleware, that allows you to connect into these different data sources.
You can then pull that information together in real time and present that back to the business in a uniform way. So, if you were an organisation that was scaling quickly, or you’re making acquisitions and you wanted to pull data information quickly, or even if you were downsizing, this would be a really good solution. It gives you a consistent, scalable approach that allows you to respond quickly to business need while removing risk of multiple bespoke integrations.
Mick: Our digital toolkit allows our customers to tie together all the parts of their business as well as unify their data, systems, processes and their people. It allows them to modernise and streamline operations and reduce costs by moving beyond legacy technologies. And it also allows them to transform by reimagining digital experiences, by improving the quality speed and intuitiveness of interactions and collaboration.
What are some of the other capabilities of these technologies?
Trevor: For example, if you’re an organisation which has multiple repositories of employee information, you can have your golden record, or the “master record”, for your employee which you can then sync across all the other repositories that are in your ecosystem. This is really useful when it comes to joiners / leavers and you need to track all that from a compliance point of view. We can help design a solution and offer it as a managed service which not a lot of companies can do.
This approach can also be applied to product information, partner information or vendor information. If you’re having challenges keeping multiple external data sources up to date, then an integration platform could be for you.
Mick: Using some of the specific technologies within the toolkit, we can also expose the processes that have been defined for moving data, transforming data and updating data. And what this provides is an additional layer of functionality, as well as a level of security, resilience and scalability.
What approach does Evros take?
Trevor: At Evros we have an engagement model as to how we do our discovery, design and implementation. And in that, we have a toolkit for connecting data services. It depends on what the organisation’s needs are. We can write scripts as well if there was a particular challenge – we go in with an open mind, look for the best solution and go from there.
How do cloud technologies fit into all of this?
Trevor: A key part of that is, once you gather that information and output it in the format you want, you can overlay some of the newer cloud services on top of that.
So, you can pull all the information you need and then apply cognitive services, machine learning or sentiment analysis, and then present that back to the business. So, again these types of tools allow you to take advantage of the newer types of cloud services that are coming out, which historically you wouldn’t be able to do very easily.
How can this be applied to businesses in Ireland?
Trevor: These are new, emerging solutions and technologies. Our role is to stay at the forefront of where these trends are so that our customers don’t need to have their finger on the pulse all the time. It’s our job to be thought leaders and bring these new solutions to our customers and then wrap them up in packages or services that they can easily consume.
And that’s what we’re doing at Evros, we’re making sure we can offer the best solutions to our customers to help protect their businesses and make sure, from a technology standpoint, they can operate as effectively as they can.
And that’s what you want – your IT function empowered with the right tools and services – then your business can respond in an agile way.
Mick: In addition, with our suite of tools, we can offer customers the right tool for the job rather than having a situation where we shoehorn in the tool of choice to cover all jobs. We can customise the solutions for a specific customer’s needs. We can then wrap the suite of tools in a reporting infrastructure that we will develop in-house to support the managed services.
Find out more
Learn more about best practices in approaching cloud technologies in our 17-page eBook entitled:
– a discussion with Evros Head of Enterprise, Martin Carry, Operations Manager, Danny McEntee and CIO Joe Brady.