Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Not acceptance of a new normal as things are now, but rather acceptance of the current status as today’s reality. And, acceptance of the need to act and to move forward with a goal to get back to ‘normal’ or strive to understand what a new normal might look like.
As we all struggle through the stages of grief, we first apply these personally - how Covid-19 is affecting our life and the lives of those close to us. As we come to the stage of acceptance we start to think, “What can I do to help?”. To do this we apply the skills we bring to the current situation.
This series about Covid-19 and Cloud Integration is my answer to this question. Looking at how integration is helping organizations adapt to changes in business models due to COVID-19 and offering my assistance to help you work through the impacts you see in your business.
In this series we start in this article with a look at the strategy to move forward and the integration tools we have at our disposal. The second article focuses on the immediate actions we need to take in addressing the pandemic. This is followed by four articles outlining specific Covid-19 business scenarios where integration technologies can assist. The scenarios discuss: Shopping and Supply chain, Business Status and Accessibility, Government processes, and Service businesses, Recreation, Entertainment, Travel, and Risk management. And then we close the series with a call to action.
Let’s get started.
Understand the goal, understand where you are, and then create/execute a set of actions to move forward toward the goal.
Define the goal – “back to normal”
We all fondly remember normal - it was not that long ago. But we probably did not pay attention to how integration capabilities played a role in our daily lives. Every industry uses integration capabilities. Whether it is to communicate to customers and suppliers, integrate systems internal to the company itself - both on the cloud and on premise, work with partners in an ecosystem, or integrate with social networks, integration technologies enabled these interactions.
To get “back to normal” (the goal) we need to eliminate, manage, or reduce the barriers that we face in our current environment caused by Covid-19. What are these?
Where are we now?
For most of us, the answer is “home”. The implication of this from an integration perspective is that we are needing to use connectivity / integration far more than when things were “normal”. Of course, many aspects of what we do remotely have already existed - such as online ordering and other web / mobile enabled capabilities. There may be some differences in this area such as delivery / pick up options and inventory issues. But the primary issue is health-related concerns around the potential to be infected or spread Covid-19. Due to this we face social interaction limitations, potential shortages in supplies and supply chain issues, a modified work environment, and a modified education environment. Government interactions for information and assistance have increased exponentially. We are experiencing changes in what we do for entertainment, where we can and cannot go, and how we interact with both people and the businesses in our lives.
Conditions vary in different parts of the world. Some regions are starting to reopen certain businesses while other regions or types of businesses are remaining closed. Even when businesses are open, individuals are deciding how they want to interact. Some might choose to physically go into a business or near one, while others still want to interact remotely. At least in the near term, to meet the needs of the consumer and to start to drive business there is a need to support an interaction spectrum both for customers and between businesses.
Customer centricity is a key tenet of Digital Transformation. While businesses have been on the digital transformation journey for some time, Covid-19 is accelerating the adoption to meet customer needs and drive business. Digital transformation is no longer optional. Previously I discussed the three largest obstacles to digital transformation, identifying integration as the key technical challenge that must be overcome.
As we are transitioning from our current state to our goal, we need to support our customer’s requested new interaction patterns.
What is in the integration toolkit?
There are several integration capabilities that we have applied in “normal” times and that we bring forward to help here as well. Here is a short description of each capability:
- API Lifecycle – securely expose and control access to business assets for easy consumption by a target developer audience – inside or outside our company, so that they can build / use these assets to deliver business offerings
- Application Integration – connect applications and drive data and transactions into all the necessary applications in the company, transforming the data formats as required based on the required different formats used in each application.
- Messaging – pass messages (data) between business applications or between the application integration capability and the business applications both securely and assuring the message is delivered successfully once and only once.
- Events – provide the ability to react to events in real time to deliver responsive and personalized customer experiences
- Files/Data movement - fast file transfer and streaming, moving data of any size across any distance
All the capabilities need to work both on premise and on any cloud.
I also want to call out security as a critical factor. As we introduce increased remote functionality, AAA security (authentication, authorization, and accounting) are paramount. Please see Principles for API Security for more on this topic.
Articles to follow: (each of these will become active links as the article is published)
If you have questions or want to engage, please let me know. Connect with me via twitter @Arglick or Linkedin to continue the discussion.
Graphics courtesy of Pixabay.com – Gerd Altmann, Pete Linforth, and Clker-Free-Vector-Images