Well, it’s coming up to month 9 for me at Amos and I’m finally starting to lose that feeling of “imposter syndrome”! If I’m honest, it has been difficult to shrug off that feeling. I’ve always been technically minded but I would never call myself a developer in the true sense, and certainly not an “architect”.
I was no stranger to integration, thanks to my past experiences with Tribal and Ellucian student information systems. I’d heard of “middleware” and “enterprise service bus”. I’d seen the emergence of APIs and the rise of open architecture. All very interesting stuff.
When I was first approached by Amos, the idea of “integration as a service (IaaS)” was intriguing to me. I’d seen first hand how the simple mention of integration would leave many institutions and vendors alike feeling concerned.
I quickly learned that an IaaS platform took on the responsibility of ensuring data moved from A to B successfully. And if it was not successful after several retries, you proactively get told about it ASAP. You then have a support desk to help you resolve the problem, if needed, regardless of what applications are involved.
Integration — who exactly owns this wonderful challenge? There lies the first problem. By its very nature, integrating applications spans the domain expertise of different parts of the business and also different software vendors.
Typically, a CIO or Director of IT does not wake up on a Monday morning and decide to unpick the tangled web of spaghetti that is point-to-point integrations. Without a compelling event, it sits firmly in the “too hard” basket. There are much easier lower hanging fruit to pick.
So, what would that compelling event look like you may ask? Moving to the cloud. For many good reasons legacy direct database or file transfer integrations are not compatible with cloud technology. Simply put, you need to clear the path first, in terms of modernizing your integrations. And if an application can’t be modernized, it needs to connect into something that will transform and then orchestrate the flow of data onto its designated endpoint.
At the Education Strategy Forum I attended in March this year, Ian Johns (Chief Architect at Kings College London) spoke openly about institutions needing to outsource activities that are keeping the lights on (e.g. integration), and instead, focusing resources on value add activities.
Whilst at Amos I’ve learned modernizing integrations does not have to cost a fortune, it does not require an expensive team of developers and it should not prevent an institution from achieving their digital transformation goals.
Yes and no! As Derek (my boss and an Amos founder) and I occasionally joke, “if it was that easy everyone would be doing it”. There are of course many well known integration platforms out there. But none that focus solely on higher education and they are certainly not offering it as a service.
Higher education software may have an integration problem, but here’s what I’ve noticed. When you have the right partner — one that has decades of education-specific business process experience and integration expertise — you can turn integration into a seamless (and manageable) process that future proofs your organization.
This is what we do every single day at Amos. We help higher education overcome their biggest integration challenges.
Connect is an end-to-end integration as a service solution, built for education, which can handle both legacy and modern integration methods. We can help you unlock the power of your student system integration component whilst taking ownership and responsibility of your data flows across multiple applications.