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Red Hat conceived the agile integration concept to help our customers tackle integration challenges more effectively. As we described in an earlier post in detail, agile integration is an architectural approach centered around application programming interfaces (APIs) and API management. At its core, this concept resides on the following three pillars: distributed integration for greater flexibility, containers for the ability to scale better, and managed APIs for re-usability and hence speed.

When we started designing this concept we actually started from two premises:

  1. Agility today is the most important business capability -- especially for incumbents in traditional markets.
  2. Every organisation has integration problems.

Typically in most companies nowadays the integration function is centralized and hence technically as well as organizationally a bottleneck. Our two premises contradict each other and we set out to design an integration concept that can solve this contradiction.

In order to come up with a solution that really helps our customers solve their integration problems in the best possible way, we first analysed the market to understand what actually are the problems that users are trying to solve. Although there are of course a very wide variety of often very fine-nuanced problems, it turned out that we could classify all the problems into six typical integration challenges. The following diagram summarizes these challenges and we then discuss each of them in more detail.

Agile Integration: Six Challenges

Increase Internal Agility

This is the most frequent challenge that we are seeing and is perfectly in line with the overarching theme of agile integration. It is also in many cases the starting point for a customer when embarking on an agile integration initiative. The three pillars in combination significantly improve enterprise agility and allow organisations to react to changing market conditions much faster.

Find out more about how one of our customers is solving this challenge:

Swiss Railways (SBB)


Build Consistent Omni-Channel Experience

Today we are seeing an atomization of channels. Especially for incumbents who have a lot of legacy systems that need to be integrated too, it is a serious challenge to serve all these channels -- and not just their own but also third party channels using their data or services. What’s worse is that on top of the channels, an outstanding and especially consistent experience must be provided to their customers. Today, the more effective approach is rather than trying to control all channels yourself, it can be more beneficial to allow building channels in a secure and controlled way via APIs.

Find out more about how one of our customers is solving this challenge:



Leverage Existing Data or Services Better

Often times, business have a lot of valuable data or services which are not leveraged well enough. Very often outdated, inflexible technical or business models hinder a more effective usage of existing assets. But with agile integration, data and service access can be constructed in a much more fine-grained way. On top of that, control and monetization mechanisms are available that allow to build entirely new business models on top of existing assets.

Find out more about how one of our customers is solving this challenge:

Oxford University Press


Build Customer or Partner Ecosystems

Building a fruitful network around an organisations data or services targeting either partners, customers, or both is not a new business strategy. However, with agile integration, these relationships can be created much faster and often even in a complete self-service manner. New collaborations or alliances can be formed overnight, which is also often referred to as business development 2.0.

Find out more about how one of our customers is solving this challenge:

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol


Integrate with Cloud Native, Mobile, or IoT Apps

Due to the current proliferation of cloud technologies, cloud-native apps today are already the norm rather than the exception in most industries. Combine that with the growing diversity of further apps like mobile, IoT, car, home automation, (chat) bots, etc., and you’ll face the next integration challenge that is complex to tackle, especially if the organisation is still following a centralised ESB-based integration approach.  

Find out more about how one of our customers is solving this challenge:



Enable SaaS Integrations Across Hybrid Environments

The last challenge is related to the previous one but focuses more on leveraging cloud-based compute or storage resources in various different clouds (public and private) from different vendors and maybe even using different technologies. Mix this with on-prem infrastructure and aim to be able to move workloads around seamlessly between these various environments. This is another complex challenge that agile integration can help to solve.

Find out more about how one of our customers is solving this challenge:



Starting with our two premises and then analyzing the typical integration challenges helped us to eventually craft the concept of agile integration. For more details about the the architectural pillars and how they beneficially play together, read our ebook Agile Integration: A Blueprint for Enterprise Architecture.

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