For most businesses, the road to digital transformation has been a bumpy one, with non-unified data storage systems and multiple systems of record implemented through the years due to ongoing business requirements. Digital transformations are never easy and even more challenging than traditional change efforts. Without the proper planning and analysis of your business needs and existing computing platforms, the benefits of a complete and successful digital transformation cannot be maximized. Organizations understand that digital transformation is not just exclusive to internal optimizations, focusing on the digitization of processes or the organization’s entire operating model. Becoming digital, powers improved modern applications that serve external partners and customers through the use of digital channels.
Even if transformation can benefit the entire organization, the scope of the change efforts should be specific and not too wide that it loses focus. Consequently, it’s important that transformation come in phases, according to the priorities of the organization. The adoption of new technologies is a major consideration, so it’s vital that you have an understanding of your current systems and what you need to complete your organization’s digital transformation. And although the needs of different organizations will vary, it’s important for all to remember the key implementation practices to make digital transformation as seamless as possible. This is especially important because the number of organizations that adhere to these practices is gradually declining.
Transformation in any organization must come from the top, with leaders taking ownership and ensuring commitment from the different teams within the organization. There should also be alignment when it comes to expectations and the initiatives pursued by the organization and members so that processes can be prioritized easily. After the process is standardized, regular tracking is essential; the ongoing impact of all changes implemented must be assessed regularly to determine next steps.
So where does the Digital Integration Hub (DIH) come into the picture? It’s an application architecture that’s specifically designed to drive your digital transformation initiatives by addressing the challenges in delivering highly available, high throughput and responsive application programming interfaces (API’s) while reducing the workload on systems of record.
What is a Digital Integration Hub (DIH)?
A digital integration hub is an application architecture that connects to multiple systems of record and data stores regardless of whether they reside on-premise or in the cloud, and aggregates operational data into a low-latency data fabric. A digital integration hub supports modernization initiatives by offloading from legacy architecture and providing a decoupled API layer that effectively supports modern on-line applications. A DIH can also power migration to the cloud and support hybrid deployments which is highly relevant when organizations want to continue to leverage their on-premise operational systems and when sensitive data cannot be moved to the public cloud. Additionally, A DIH enables data integration and analytics to help in the quick and efficient management of big data, allowing for real-time operational reporting on fresh data. Depending on the current architecture of your existing data processing platforms, a DIH can be the best solution for your digital transformation initiatives.
Why Do You Need a DIH?
Conventional architectures can’t accommodate gradual modernization strategies of systems of record because the systems are tightly coupled. Imagine if your many applications are each accessing multiple systems of records, all calling the APIs directly in order to access the data. Modernizing even one system of record means you have to make changes to these five digital applications all at once. This will require a lot of effort, slowing time-to-market while increasing the risk of error.
A DIH will also ensure increased throughput, reduced latency and always-on applications by decoupling the API services from the systems of record. The DIH replicates in real-time system-of-record data into a super fast in-memory data fabric. This supports highly responsive modern digital services, open banking initiatives, customer 360, analytics and BI on operational data and more.
It should be noted that, along with its benefits, a DIH may also come with unfamiliar and sometimes complex data management and technical challenges, so there can be a learning curve. As such, you should assess the benefits of a DIH, and ensure that your team has the technical competency to manage the integrations.
With an out-of-the box DIH, you will receive the full benefits of the modern application architecture in a unified platform, that will help you avoid the complexities of integrating multiple components and greatly accelerate time-to-market.
Additionally, a DIH will help you achieve the following:
- Address slow response times experienced by customers
- Ensure always-on services
- Scale to support peak volumes while avoiding over-provisioning of expensive on-prem hardware
- Ensure that applications support high user concurrency
- Replicate data effectively across sites and regions in real-time
- Accelerate data ingestion and processing times
- Ensure compatibility of infrastructure with hybrid and multi-cloud architectures
- Deploy new applications and services quickly and efficiently
Out-of-the-Box vs. Augmented DIH
When modernizing data processing systems, organizations have the option to augment their existing ODS architecture or deploy an out-of-the-box DIH. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to data processing platforms, so it’s vital to determine which approach is appropriate for your organization’s current situation. Augmenting current architectures entails the enhancement of your existing ODS deployments to boost both performance and scale and enable the rapid introduction of new digital services. If you’re not planning to rip and replace systems, augmentation is a viable alternative that will also add a microservices API layer for digital applications with minimal investment. On the other hand, an out-of-the-box DIH comes with all the necessary components to enable fast data processing in real-time from your systems of record. This is an ideal option for small to medium businesses as it provides a platform that can be used to launch new projects and, eventually, a larger scale system that can support a growing enterprise. Both the out-of-the-box and augmented DIH architectures provide smart caching that’s optimized for advanced queries and comes with dynamic fast aggregations and secondary indexing. However, the out-of-the-box solution adds a high-performance multi-tier data store and a native change data capture (CDC).
Leaving Legacy Without Leaving Legacy Software
Today’s world is data-driven, and the management and analysis of data has shown promise as a differentiator in business but also one of the biggest challenges of every organization. As big data volumes become larger and more complex, businesses are left with the choice of either ignoring the benefits of digital transformation or stepping up to the challenge and gaining a major competitive edge in the market. Successful digital transformations are rooted in a rethinking of the familiar approaches to data processing, and businesses are gradually realizing the potential of in-memory computing solutions in processing and analyzing data and transforming it into actionable insights. Although all digital transformations may seem drastic in nature, transformation doesn’t necessarily mean leaving behind existing systems and migrating to the latest and greatest. You don’t have to rip-and-replace in order to modernize your architecture. One of the greatest mistakes a business can make is adopting a technology by virtue of its being new. The first step in every transformation—digital or not—should always be determining what still works and what’s missing. Often, you’ll discover that modernization of legacy systems is the best, and simplest, way to go.
A DIH Case Study – Modernizing Trading and Risk Management Platforms
A multinational investment bank and financial services company had 200 applications including pre-trade, risk management, accounting services and more, and needed to grow this number significantly. Each system of record had a different API, making it difficult to get a single view of the data across applications and platforms. Consequently, they lacked a single source of data truth. The bank implemented GigaSpaces Smart ODS, as their Digital Integration Hub, which provides a single API to seven systems of record. The Smart ODS, in-memory processing and storage layer was used to significantly accelerate data access. In addition, the Smart ODS data replication service provided asynchronous replication in real-time between bank sites in Paris, NYC, London and Hong Kong. As a result, the bank gained a cross-region data fabric to enable its trading applications and services. They were able to grow from 200 applications to over 400 applications, supporting hundreds of concurrent users, with 99.999% availability.
Want to learn more about modernizing your existing operational data infrastructure?