Web integrator and digital transformation
What role does the web integrator play in the process of digital transformation?
Much has been already written about what we can imagine under the digital transformation term. Regarding the digital transformation there have been long-term interesting debates across the Internet, within which it has been solved at many places what has been the main driver of the digital transformation - whether it's Cloud, BI (Big Data), IoT (Internet of Things) or APIs. In many professional articles it has been analysed from all points of view, what will be the impacts of digital transformation on various industries and how fast is the progress in various fields of digital transformation. Likewise, many IT experts have been for a number of years preoccupied by thinking on, which sectors will be affected by the digital transformation most and when.
I I'll try to explain in this blogpost what is the role of the web integrator in the process of digital transformation and to answer the question, where is his place.
What is the digital transformation?
There are lots of definitions for the digital transformation. You can find one of these definitions (like almost everything) on Wikipedia. Further, you can find them on websites and in presentations by smart consulting firms, such as Capgemini, or such interesting sites as i-SCOPE and many others.
I'd adhere to the following definitions:
"The digital transformation is a fundamental and accelerating change of business activities, processes, competencies and models fully exploiting the potential of digital technologies and their impact on the whole society."
On the other hand, the digital transformation cannot only be simplified to the digital marketing, digital consumer behaviour or the digitization of information (the introduction of "paperless" processes). Although individual topics are important for the digital transformation by themselves they are not sufficient for such a fundamental change, which is brought about by the digital transformation.
The term digital transformation includes much more. It is a continuous process, through which enterprises adapt to major changes with their customers and markets or stimulate them, that with the help of digital technologies they innovate and introduce new business models, products and services, combining digital and physical aspects of the company towards customers while increasing the operational efficiency and business performance at the same time.
What is the role of a web integrator within the digital transformation?
I have already described, who is a web integrator, including a focus on the presentation layer within the abstraction of the three-tier architecture and the Front-end Factory as a key competence of the web integrator.
How this all fits into the digital transformation? First of all, you need to realize that the web integrator is an important partner in the digital transformation (but by no means the only one).
Due to the impact of the digital transformation on all aspects of the business the close cooperation between various entities that are involved in the transformation comes to the forefront. And that both inward - (internal IT system integrator and other suppliers) as well as outward, because companies have a need to present their digital presence in the digital environment (this is where digital agencies enter the entire process). All this is happening for one reason - to achieve or meet the set business goals.
Within the digital transformation it is definitely worth revisiting simplified understanding of front-end, purely as a presentation layer within the concept of the three-tier architecture. The Frontend should really be seen as any connection to the digital environment, i.e. including user "invisible" interface - API (Application Programming interfaces) rather than purely "tangible" (today touchscreen) multichannel. Indeed, the multichannel is or may be a consumer of these APIs. Nevertheless, such interfaces are located in the "Business Logic" layer, according to the concept of the three-tier architecture.
Even within the layer of business logic further fragmentation occurs and demands on API are in terms of flexibility, security and performance similar to demands on the presentation layer. For this reason I can see lots of space for a web integrator (in the close cooperation with other suppliers) in the preparation of these API not only from a technical point of view (development) but also from the consultation (analytical and design) points of view.
API to rule them all. Really?
Already now there are companies, whose business is built primarily on providing APIs to the world.
And vice versa there are companies that use APIs of others for their business without having to have their own "core" systems. And many others still have to go through such transformation.
API alone is certainly not a new idea. But the possibility of opening them and using for specific business leads to fundamental questions about the value of own services and the ability (or inability) to provide them to the digital world in the form of a suitable API. Indeed, without tools supporting the preparation of high quality (and documented) open APIs such as Apiary the "API revolution" would certainly not take a place, because a total confusion would occur and everyone would do his/her own way. Which is exactly the state you do not want to get to.
Nevertheless, API itself is not any panacea either and API cannot be considered as a synonym for digital transformation. It is again only part, albeit substantial, of the whole process, which must be closely linked with a number of necessary changes within the company and in particular with the change of usual thought patterns.
In any case, however, API is the area of intense interest of the web integrator, for its ability of interconnection (integration) of the digital internal and external world of the customer.
With the web integrator the way to your goal is easier
So that companies can tackle new market opportunities, they must within the digital transformation change their business models, rethink business processes, work habits, and end-user experiences. The web integrator is a partner in the introduction of these innovations, who will greatly help to achieve the set objectives.