Katya Samardina

Five Steps to Take Before Selecting Your Next Integration Engine

December 14, 2016


“Which engine should I choose?”

That’s the question you’ll ask yourself once you’ve finally put a plan in place for migrating to a new integration engine.

To answer this, I recommend that you first consider as many engines as possible, compare them to your existing platform, and evaluate their capabilities, service offerings, vendor’s experience, and total cost of ownership.

And be sure to ask tough questions. For example, some vendors might charge ongoing support for features that your organization simply doesn’t need, so be sure to ask about (1) the services each vendor has committed to provide, such as the type of initial and ongoing training, and (2) the ease with which you can expect to obtain support from a given vendor.

Ask the following:

  • What is included in the support-and-maintenance agreement?
  • Does the new integration-engine vendor provide initial and ongoing training on the product?
  • Is there a certification program available?
  • Is customer support accessed through email, telephone, and/or online chat?
  • Is there an online ticketing system that makes tracing issues easy?

Next, collect your evaluation criteria directly from the requirements developed during the planning phase (see my earlier blog post here). To recognize whether a particular solution will meet your requirements, follow best practice by asking selected vendors to provide a proof of concept and a demonstration of their migration capabilities.

After that, be sure to use the following procurement-criteria checklist that summarizes all the necessary steps:

  • Step 1: Develop evaluation criteria based on your project requirements
  • Step 2: Prioritize requirements into “must have” and “nice to have” categories so that the best-fit solution can be identified
  • Step 3: Identify the interface engine
  • Step 4: Evaluate the integration engine according to consistent criteria
  • Step 5: Request and evaluate proof-of-concept demonstrations

Finally, consider your requirements for developers. Should they be proficient in specialized algorithmic programming languages? Few developers have knowledge of older languages, such as Monk, while lots of developers have knowledge of modern languages, such as JavaScript.

By all measures, choosing an integration engine is tough. Be sure to consider all of the vendors available and partner with one who has a record of successfully migrating legacy engines. You want a vendor that performs the essential gap analysis on components, functionality, and more. If you use this blog post as a lens to focus your efforts on your organization’s most essential criteria, your migration process will be immeasurably strengthened, and your long-term results will be infinitely better for it.

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