Aberdeen Group recently published a report by Senior Analyst David White entitled “Beyond Agile Analytics: Is Agile Integration Next?” which highlights some of the major benefits related to the industry trends in application development. Not surprisingly, White reports that industry leaders and innovators use a richer blend of integration technologies when compared to industry followers who maintain ‘status quo’ business practices. In addition, he identifies three key findings: 1) Agile integration is cost effective integration, 2) incremental project delivery aides agility, and 3) role flexibility aids agile integration.
However, my reason for referencing the Aberdeen report is not so much to highlight its key findings, but to comment on White’s uncommon use of the term “Agile Integration”.
Though not without criticism, the Agile Software Development movement has been gaining momentum for the past ten years. Businesses both large and small have adopted at least aspects of agile practices such as iterative and incremental development, collaboration between cross-functional teams, and the rapid and flexible ability to respond to change. Given its popularity, it surprises me that the specific phrase “Agile Integration” hasn’t also been adopted, or at least used more often. The Aberdeen report is an exception.
My question is “Why?”. Why hasn’t the specific term “Agile Integration” caught on in an IT climate where everyone seems to be looking for the next buzzword to coin? Reluctance to use the specific term “Agile Integration” is probably due to the controversial aspects of Agile Software Development, and not wanting to risk being tightly linked to it. Analysts and vendors instead use similar descriptors and benefits but in a softer, less definitive manner. But the reality is that many of the well-defined principles of the “Agile Software Development Manifesto” are similar to the generally accepted values behind the current trends in data and application integration and the push for maximum business agility. For example,
- Customer satisfaction by rapidly delivering useful software/integrations
- Welcoming changing requirements, even late in development
- Frequently delivering working software/integrations (days rather than months)
- Working software/integrations as the principal measure of progress
- Sustainable integration development at a constant pace
- Close, daily co-operation and collaboration between business users and developers
- Regular adaptation to changing circumstances
And shared methodologies include:
- Iterative and incremental development
- Collaboration between cross-functional teams
- Adaptive planning
- Evolutionary development and delivery
In practice, the norm for the majority of businesses is to implement a hybrid Agile Software Development approach where they accept some of the core values and practices without following it 100%. This pragmatic Agile trend is what you see happening and talked about with regards to data and application Integration.
The Adeptia design facilitates iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between cross-functional teams, adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, and an innovative design which provides users with a rapid and flexible ability to respond to change. Adeptia features that encourage Agile Integration include our “all-in-one” design, a dynamic web form and user interface created by users, self documentation of business rules and processes, dynamic schema discovery, test sandboxes, rapid prototyping, simulation, and a service oriented architecture for service reuse, to name a few.
To see this in operation by an Adeptia customer, check out the LaSalle Solutions case study, or contact Adeptia to learn more.