System Integration Aggregators, a Growing Business

There is an ongoing paradigm shift in the system integration arena. The customers get their application programming interfaces (API) from the software providers, especially from those who offer software as a service (SaaS) as a basic requirement.

That is why there is an opening in the market for aggregators such as Flashnode. At the moment the need for system integration services is most acute for online shops and accounting services, which need several applications to run their business.  But the amount of applications needed is rapidly growing in other businesses as well as is the need for interconnectivity internally.

"Hidden IT encompasses services such as Dropbox, Basecamp or Pipedrive that are used in company projects against the company policy."

What is the selling and buying of software going to be like in the future? It seems that centralised IT buying does not exist in the future but the amount of hidden IT might grow. Hidden IT encompasses services such as Dropbox, Basecamp or Pipedrive that are used in company projects against the company policy. This type of hidden IT already exist in Fortune 500 companies. 

So, there will always remain bits and pieces in our daily IT routines that no one really owns or controls. Their existence is not obvious but since they serve a certain purpose in the organisation, they are left alone. Company policies and everyday doing are living happily their separate lives.

IT services are an amoeba-like living organism in constant motion.  That’s why the question of responsibility gets harder: who will be responsible for system integrations in the future? This remains to be seen, but what is self-evident is that everything related to system integrations and IT in general, will be purchased and evaluated on business terms only and not from the IT perspective.  

Should system integration aggregators sell big data?

When system aggregator business grows, companies should be prepared for new business models that arrive to Finland and Europe with it: the business of selling data. The market here is much more sensitive for data mining in B2B sector compared to US. In Finland/Europe the client owns their data whereas in the US, the data is owned by or can be used by the aggregator. In addition, in the US system integration aggregation starts from the fact how to make business with the data.

In Europe we are very sensitive about allowing the use of big data in B2B services, especially when it includes financial information. That is why there aren’t many businesses in this area yet. However, this about to change over the next couple of years and companies should be prepared for it.

Is standardisation needed?

When the need for services is growing and selling of big data is discussed, should the APIs be standardised? Standardisation is not needed currently because there are only very few actors in the market, and the market has just started to develop in Europe.

Development, on the other hand, happens very fast and that is why the discussion on the standardisation should be started already now. This would allow us to define who the party responsible for the standardisation is, and to find the right kind of operating models for aggregators and software houses who provide the APIs. We also need time to discuss about the related legal matters. Apple’s App Store and Google Play are good examples to learn from.

When running a system integration project, we should always remember to ask: does it serve the purpose in our company vision? In addition, when executing the system integration, we should keep our focus not only on the puck but on the whole ice hockey rink. If we only focus on the puck, there is a danger we are too agile and loose the sight of our company vision.

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Flashnode is a system integration aggregator running it as a monthly fee based automated service. www.flashnode.com