As more modern systems get introduced regularly, enterprises today are struggling with technology complexity. The challenge for IT teams (as well for the ISVs that serve them) is how to connect the disparate elements of the tech ecosystem. Speaking from a personal vantage point, this is especially true with HCM systems which have seen a sustained rise in adoption rates. More and more point systems come in to address specific problems and the sprawl of the tech stack continues unabated. So, how do enterprises deal with this mad growth? How do they connect the enterprise? What tools or strategies do they use to simplify, integrate, and derive value? Let me use the HCM space as an example to drive home a larger point.
The extraordinary growth of the HCM industry
The HCM industry has been undergoing a massive transformation. A generational shift in demographics, an escalating war for technical and soft skills, radical changes in expectations for workers and employers, and the constant slew of challenges with engagement, productivity, and employee experience are all major concerns. To address these concerns, enterprises are increasing their investment in HCM technologies. Specific solutions to address specific needs are growing rapidly and this approach is here to stay. Don’t get me wrong. These are all (well, mostly) extremely useful systems. However, despite the benefits these systems can offer, their introduction into the enterprise ecosystem also presents many challenges:
- IT departments spend millions of dollars and months of effort each year integrating these dispersed systems by creating custom integrations and managing them.
- Since neither iPaaS vendors nor the point solution vendors can meet the key integration needs, IT continues to be under pressure while C-suite executives struggle to justify the high costs of integration and maintenance. In fact, the C-suite is probably struggling to even know the most basic things – what solutions do they have? How much is each solution being used? Where are these solutions delivering value?
- There is also an extremely high, but hidden, opportunity cost. Systems in silos don’t talk to each other. The tremendous value that could be unlocked with seamless data sharing remains unavailable.
Of course, the ISVs who make these enterprise solutions want to maintain control of their deals, control the execution of their projects, and want integration capabilities they can build themselves – as a core competence – so they can protect their turf and stay ahead of the competition.
Building a connected enterprise
The consumerization of the business landscape has brought many challenges to the fore; since business apps are so easy to deploy, IT teams are no longer responsible for their purchase and implementation. Individual departments are implementing best-of-breed apps to tackle their specific needs. This has led to an explosion in the number of SaaS apps, resulting in an enterprise nightmare. Although Integration Platform as a Service or IPaaS enables companies to integrate applications, IoT devices, and the data they produce, a majority of IPaaS vendors are focused on Tier 1 business apps. In addition, the connectors they offer do not meet edge use cases. They also, often, don’t really cater to business users. Therefore, IT departments are stretched thin and fail to meet the needs of business users of Tier 2 applications such as HCM – in a timely manner. What businesses need today is an embedded plug and play integration platform that is scalable and extensible, easy to use, and understand. With the business users in mind, it should allow low code-based creation of integrations. Such an integration platform can not only pave the way for a connected enterprise but also reduce infrastructure costs and provide transparency and useful analytics in enterprise software usage. For the ISVs, it could lower entry barriers into complex enterprise ecosystems and improve time-to-market. Since agility in enterprises is largely driven by automated workflows, a modern integration platform will enable the creation of a connected enterprise that allows for powerful collaboration across departments. Through automation, enterprise users can connect various applications in their tech stack – without any coding – and focus on driving efforts on value-added tasks. They can spin up connectors rapidly to bring together the most complex technology apps within the enterprise and drive innovation quickly. A modern integration platform drastically brings down the time for implementation from months to weeks or even days. Since maintenance is baked-in, enterprises do not have to worry about evolution. They can reap the benefits from a connected enterprise – always. Also, since the time and cost taken to spin up connectors is low, they can accelerate time-to-market, drive innovation, and improve internal user experience. With a modern integration platform, businesses can:
- Achieve greater visibility across the enterprise
- Respond to business changes with speed and agility
- Drive data-driven, real-time decision-making
- Enable optimal utilization of the existing tech stack
- Achieve maximum ROI from sunk technology investments
- Provide stellar user experiences
- Achieve huge saving in integration time and efforts
Creating the #ConnectedEnterprise with Sapper
This is where I would like to introduce the vision of Sapper, an easy-to-use integration platform that connects various enterprise applications – instantly. The enterprise-class platform catalyzes the orchestration, management, and acceleration of data workflows at cloud scale. It allows enterprises to build connectors and bring together even the most complex technology apps, helping them adapt to today’s digital age. At the same time, using Sapper’s plug-and-play integration platform, ISVs can provide more value to customers by integrating existing products in their customer tech stack – quickly and easily. ISVs can quickly spin-up connectors and allow their product development teams to focus on value-added features instead of wasting their time in messy integrations.