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System integration has always been a challenging, but essential piece of business. Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) has evolved to respond to customers’ continuously changing needs while fitting with different enterprise architectures. And the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), which is at the heart of the whole system, can solve complex integration scenarios in large companies.
But this architecture has some downsides. It’s expensive. It increases governance complexity, because the service bus owner could turn into a bottleneck — making the bus a single point of failure. In addition, it must adapt to a growing number of requests.
The Rise of Cloud and the SaaS Model
Cloud services are rapidly moving from an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Cloud platforms provide services and tools that enable collaboration, communication and coordination. As a result, workflow services must manage both task orchestration and business processes.
Connectors play a key role in the use of these services/tools; they allow software architects to design and build complex workflows that involve a tremendous variety of data sources — from the cloud and on-premises systems.
The Microsoft Way
At the latest Microsoft Build 2019 conference, CEO Satya Nadella revealed that one of the pillars of the company’s global strategy is the business platform, which was born by porting Microsoft Dynamics as an on-premises product in the cloud. And Microsoft has decoupled the business module that belongs to the Dynamics solution from the platform that manages it, making the platform available to the ISV network.
The platform is used to build business applications that leverage the ecosystem provided by Microsoft Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure cloud services. It’s comprised of five elements:
Flow, in particular, carries out an extremely interesting role; it allows you to design complex workflows to involve any component provided by Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure through connectors. In addition, it gives you the ability to build custom connectors that extend data accessibility from anywhere, including on-premises.
When Smart Connectors Come Into Play
Several years ago, the Softphone team aimed to decrease integration complexity. It wanted to integrate systems that feature applications managed by agents with a primary focus on contact centers.
As a result, it developed an innovative integration architecture in which the connector concept plays a vital role. Softphone built the bedrock of its main products, which enable communication, collaboration and coordination between Genesys platforms and third-party solutions like CRM systems.
The analogy between what is currently happening in the cloud and what Softphone has been developing enables it to reuse its know-how, achieved through years of on-field experience, to extend offers to connectors that can handle complex business processes. These connectors aren’t limited to the contact center domain and are cloud-ready.
This post was co-authored by Bartolomeo Sorrentino, CTO at Softphone. Bartolomeo Sorrentino brings to Softphone over 25 years of experience in design and implementation of complex Software Architecture, setup of Software Factories (both processes and tools) and leading development teams (also geographically distributed) in projects with a specific focus on quality and functionality. As a CTO, he drives the technology strategy and the productization of services and assets.
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