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In Search of the Elusive ‘Citizen Integrator’ | @CloudExpo #DigitalTransformation

The business context for the task at hand isn’t integration – the context is the desired insight into the business.

The rise of the market for No-Code platforms and tools has given rise to a burgeoning population of ‘citizen developers’ – non-technical business personnel who can use these platforms to build an increasingly powerful set of business applications without writing a line of code.

As this market matures, different platforms focus on different challenges. As a result, a wider range of ‘citizen’ roles also evolve, such as citizen process creators and citizen data analysts.

High on this list: the new role of citizen integrator.

A citizen integrator is a non-technical business user who uses a No-Code integration tool to perform either application integration or data integration tasks – as well as tasks that combine these two integration modes.

Integration has always been a difficult technical task that has heretofore required the expertise of dedicated IT professionals. It is unsurprising, therefore, that there are Low-Code tools aplenty intended to simplify and streamline the work of such professionals.

The purpose of No-Code tools for the citizen integrator, in contrast, is to shift the responsibility of integration to the business. The promise is to lighten the burden on IT while giving lines of business greater flexibility and, in the end, improved customer centricity.

At least, that’s what the No-Code integration tool vendors hope. Just one problem: there’s no such thing as a citizen integrator.

Is ‘Making Integration Easy for the Business’ What We Really Want?

Any enterprise integration professional will tell you: integration is hard. In fact, it’s always been difficult, in spite of the fact that over the years, professional integration tools have become easier to use. Most of these tools now fall under the banner of Low-Code.

Yet, while today’s techie-focused integration tooling has helped simplify integration somewhat, it remains a complex, often costly challenge.

To understand why integration has such a high degree of difficulty, I dug up the following diagram from Enterprise Integration Patterns, the seminal 2004 book by Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Wolf.

Enterprise Integration Patterns (click here for a hyperlinked version)

At the time Hohpe and Wolf documented 64 distinct integration patterns, and in the 14 years since publication, this number has actually gone up. After all, we must now add cloud and container-specific patterns to the mix.

It’s no wonder, therefore, that most of today’s enterprise integration tools require a high level of technical expertise, even as their user interfaces have matured.

The bottom line: to deliver the power and flexibility of enterprise-class integration, an expert must understand how and when to apply the dozens of integration patterns in the diagram, regardless of the ease of use of the tooling at their disposal.

At the opposite extreme from such powerful, Low-Code tools for integration professionals are the No-Code tools for citizen integrators. These tools eschew all but the most basic of integration patterns and leverage pre-built integrations whenever possible.

If you’re connecting two popular apps with well-understood, stable APIs, such citizen integration is typically straightforward. The question, of course, is just how powerful these tools are for the more complicated integration scenarios commonplace in enterprise environments.

How sophisticated can the integrations amenable to the citizen integrator be, given the fundamental complexity of enterprise integration generally?

Never the Twain Shall Meet

We thus have two classes of integration technologies: powerful Low-Code tools for professional integrators, and easy-to-use No-Code tools for citizen integrators.

The key question: will we ever get power and non-technical ease-of-use in the same platform, thus opening up the full breadth of enterprise integration to citizen integrators?

After all, wouldn’t a single integration platform powerful enough to handle the complexities of enterprise integration but simple enough for non-techies to use be the true killer app of integration?

Perhaps. To be sure, the vendors in each of these market segments are driving innovation in predictable ways: the professional tools are becoming easier to use, incorporating visual drag-and-drop functionality more familiar to Low-Code/No-Code platforms, thus becoming fully Low-Code in their own right.

Correspondingly, the vendors of No-Code citizen integrator tools are adding increasingly powerful capabilities, in the hopes that they can take market share away from the first segment.

But the gap between these two extremes is still wider than we’d like, and no fancy drag-and-drop GUI is going to close it, because the gap is not in the tooling. It’s in the necessary expertise.

The leap from simple integration scenarios to the ins and outs of the proper application of the patterns above is just too great – unless we change the way we think about integration.

Rethinking the Context for Citizen Integration

There are plenty of vendors of Low-Code/No-Code integration tools who are looking at the diagram above and thinking about how they can sufficiently abstract all those integration patterns so that a citizen integrator doesn’t have to worry about them.

Their presumption is that citizen integrators want to be able to connect A to B simply and without any technical expertise, for any value of A or B relevant to the enterprise.

However, this line of reasoning is incorrect. In reality, there is no reason why a business person would want to become a ‘citizen integrator.’ And there likely never will be.

I’m not trying to say that there are no business users performing integration tasks. Examples of such activities are increasingly common. However, you’re not likely to go into a business meeting and have a discussion about connecting A to B.

Business users may want insights into their business, or smoothly running processes, or lowered business risk, or any number of other business priorities, but connecting A to B isn’t on the list. That’s just plumbing.

The bottom line: integration is a means to a business end, but the business doesn’t really care about integration, as long as it’s working properly. After all, you don’t think about the water pipes when you brush your teeth – unless there’s a problem, and then you call a plumber.

Here’s the disconnect: as vendors think about what they might want a citizen integrator to do, they take plumbing tasks and simplify them. After all, there are plenty of situations where business users might want a hand in building business applications. Doesn’t the same principle apply to integration as well?

Absolutely not. Applying Low-Code/No-Code principles to integration is not analogous to applying them to application creation, because in the digital era, applications are business concerns. Integration, however, is not – unless it’s broken, and then business users want to call a plumber.

The Intellyx Take

After interacting with integration professionals as well as citizen developers for many years, I’ve yet to run into anybody who identifies themselves as a citizen integrator. My theory: nobody calls themselves a citizen integrator.

Even though there are plenty of situations where a business user might want to perform some kind of integration, such a need won’t make the person a citizen integrator, because integration is never the business context for the task at hand.

Instead, here’s an example of how I envision a business user doing the work of what we might have wanted to call ‘citizen integration’ in the not-so-distant future:

The business person asks, “Siri, of our most profitable customers, which demographic tweets most favorably about our new product line?”

The query above instructs an AI-based agent to bring together customer data (perhaps from Salesforce), financial data (maybe from SAP), and data from Twitter, perform a complex data join, and then place the result into the context of the company’s product strategy and display the results.

The person making such a request will not be thinking of themselves as a citizen integrator, because the business context for the task at hand isn’t integration – the context in this case is the desired insight into the business.

The rest of the integration story? Nothing but plumbing.

If you call yourself a citizen integrator, then we want to hear from you! Please drop us a line. Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers.

DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the conference tracks for CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York.

DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City.

Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.

A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes.

Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)

Sponsorship Opportunities Here

Speaking Opportunities Here

Sponsorship and Speaking Inquiries: [email protected].

2018 Conference Agenda, Keynotes and 10 Conference Tracks

DXWordEXPO New York 2018 and Cloud Expo New York 2018 agenda present 222 rockstar faculty members, 200 sessions and 22 keynotes and general sessions in 10 distinct conference tracks.

  • Cloud-Native | Serverless
  • DevOpsSummit
  • FinTechEXPO - New York Blockchain Event
  • CloudEXPO - Enterprise Cloud
  • DXWorldEXPO - Digital Transformation (DX)
  • Smart Cities | IoT | IIoT
  • AI | Machine Learning | Cognitive Computing
  • BigData | Analytics
  • The API Enterprise | Mobility | Security
  • Hot Topics | FinTech | WebRTC

Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)

DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO 2018 New York cover all of these tools, with the most comprehensive program and with 222 rockstar speakers throughout our industry presenting 22 Keynotes and General Sessions, 200 Breakout Sessions along 10 Tracks, as well as our signature Power Panels. Our Expo Floor brings together the world's leading companies throughout the world of Cloud Computing, DevOps, FinTech, Digital Transformation, and all they entail.

As your enterprise creates a vision and strategy that enables you to create your own unique, long-term success, learning about all the technologies involved is essential. Companies today not only form multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures, but create them with built-in cognitive capabilities.

Cloud-Native thinking is now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector.

CloudEXPO is the world's most influential technology event where Cloud Computing was coined over a decade ago and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals.

FinTech Is Now Part of the DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO Program!

Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses.

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 22nd CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO November 11-13, 2018 in New York City will find fresh new content in two new tracks called:

  • FinTechEXPO
  • New York Blockchain Event

which will incorporate FinTech and Blockchain, as well as machine learning, artificial intelligence and deep learning in these two distinct tracks.

Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)

Sponsorship Opportunities Here

Speaking Opportunities Here

Sponsorship and Speaking Inquiries: [email protected].

FinTech brings efficiency as well as the ability to deliver new services and a much improved customer experience throughout the global financial services industry. FinTech is a natural fit with cloud computing, as new services are quickly developed, deployed, and scaled on public, private, and hybrid clouds.

More than US$20 billion in venture capital is being invested in FinTech this year. DXWorldEXPOCloudEXPO are pleased to bring you the latest FinTech developments as an integral part of our program.

DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are accepting speaking submissions for this new track, so please visit Cloud Computing Expo for the latest information or contact us at [email protected]

Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)

Sponsorship Opportunities Here

Speaking Opportunities Here

Sponsorship and Speaking Inquiries: [email protected].

Download Slide Deck ▸ Here

Only DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO bring together all this in a single location:

Attend DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO. Build your own custom experience. Learn about the world's latest technologies and chart your course to Digital Transformation.

22nd International DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO, taking place November 11-13, 2018, in New York City, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.

Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)

Sponsorship Opportunities Here

Speaking Opportunities Here

Sponsorship and Speaking Inquiries: [email protected].

Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here

Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS - software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers.

Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)

Sponsorship Opportunities Here

Speaking Opportunities Here

Sponsorship and Speaking Inquiries: [email protected].

Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here

Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and services, forming multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures and deployments across all major industries. Cloud-driven thinking has become the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, and the public sector.

Sponsorship Opportunities

DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the single show where technology buyers and vendors can meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers.
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35-minute technical session
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  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage.
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Secrets of Our Most Popular Sponsors and Exhibitors ▸ Here

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact [email protected].

Sponsorship Opportunities Here

Download Slide Deck:Here

Speaking Opportunities

The upcoming 22nd International DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY announces that its Call For Papers for speaking opportunities is now open.

Secrets of Our Most Popular Faculty Members ▸ Here

Submit your speaking proposal Here or by email [email protected].

Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here

About DXWorldEXPO LLC

DXWorldEXPO LLC is a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based trade show company and the creator of DXWorldEXPODigital Transformation Conference & Expo. The company produces and presents CloudEXPO, DevOpsSummitFinTechEXPO Blockchain Event, the world's most influential conferences and trade shows.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

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