Integration is king; long live integration. In some ways, this may be one of the more obvious trends. If you want to deliver a great customer experience, you have to both know something about this person interacting with you and provide key transaction(s). Both of these elements drive the need for integration. Let me give you a couple examples:
In a very competitive market, this utility wanted to add additional sales channels. In speaking to one prime partner the conversation went something like this:
Utility: We love what you’re doing and want to work with you. We think a partnership with you and your site would benefit us both.
Partner: We’d love to but first we have to ask whether you have an API or SDK that will make integration easy. Do you have those available and surfaced outside your firewall?
Utility: Well, not yet. It’s in our road map and we will definitely address it in the next year……..
Partner: Talk to us in the next year when you have the API ready.
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The conversation didn’t go exactly like that but everyone wants to integrate and no one wants all the extra effort to do a one off integration.
Has delivered a new mobile application with the patient portal embedded. Also plans to deliver wayfinding, appointment scheduling, and other key features. The key challenge: lack of a secure api available outside the firewall. Of course, it’s on the 2017 road map and will be addressed but everyone knows it’s important.
The Case for Integration
From just two examples, you see the case for integration. Customers demand a personalized experience and the ability to transact regardless of channel. This drives integration capabilities. Of course, in today’s modern world, we no longer think of integration as simply an internally facing ESB. Now you need the following:
- Available outside the firewall
- Secure: only the correct external entities can call the API
- Scalable: able to scale to meet the need
- Not so scalable: Able to shut off when key partners, customers, etc use too much of your resources
- Easy to use: Web Services are out. RESTful and micro-services are in
Provide this type of integration to your data, transactions and content and you just created a pipeline to innovation.