Application Integration for Digital Transformation
Application Integration is the process of enabling different digital applications – each developed for a specific purpose – to work with each other. When configured properly, integration allows distinct systems to seamlessly communicate.
In today’s world, Enterprise IT Transformation invariably includes leveraging the Cloud. As organizations re-engineer their business processes, leveraging On-Premise systems and investments that are already in place and integrating them with new cloud-based solutions is key to cost-effectively stand up new capabilities and services.
Cloud-based app integration is pivotal in business process augmentation, involving various tools and technologies. With clear planning, app integration can reduce IT silos and improve connectivity to integrate applications that unify management, ease access, and limit manual intervention by utilizing various ready-to-plug-in Microsoft Azure Cloud tools and services.
Microsoft offers several App Integration options to build solutions that connect applications and services on-premises and in the cloud.
Azure Integration Services enable scalable systems that can orchestrate business processes to connect On-Premise and cloud services using Service Bus, Logic Apps, API Management, and Event Grid.
Power Automate (earlier MS Flow) is a service-level offering that can be used to build codeless workflows to integrate business processes using hundreds of inbuilt connectors with disparate M365-based or marketplace applications.
Robotics Process Automation through the Power Automate platform using UI Flows builds end-to-end business process automation solutions. Coupled with AI-enabled Power Virtual Agents, it lets domain experts in your company create bots with a guided, no-code graphical interface to automate repetitive and manual efforts to improve productivity.
Azure Integrated Security powered by Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Graph allows seamless security integration among users in an organization and all tools and services hosted in Cloud or On-Premise. Features likes Azure B2B and Azure B2C helps extend application access capabilities and controlled permission management to vendors and partners outside the organization.
Microsoft BizTalk ESB Toolkit provides the capabilities to build message-based enterprise applications using a collection of tools and libraries that extend BizTalk Server’s capabilities of supporting dynamic messaging architecture to enable rapid mediation between services and their consumers.
App Integration Use Cases
As a Gold Certified Microsoft Application Integration Partner, we have certified resources ready to go on all these empowering technologies. Vertex can help you evaluate your integration landscape and cloud integration strategy and build a migration path. Microsoft has recognized our expertise in the areas of Application Integration and Enterprise Business Process Automation.
This is the third in a series of blog posts about DevOps. We started the series talking about the organizational mindset to achieve zero-defects code, then spent some time talking about how IT teams may need to evolve to create the right organizational culture for DevOps success.
It has been said that tools don’t make the mechanic, but that the right tools in the right hands can make everyday jobs far more efficient. I say that as an introduction to this article about DevOps toolsets. Tools (or one person) will not automatically transform an IT department into a DevOps shop, but a department that has adopted the culture and organization to follow DevOps practices WILL benefit from a suite of DevOps tools as they mature.
Just some of the benefits of a DevOps toolset include the standardization and automation of development processes, improved collaboration within and among the teams, consolidated code repositories, work-item tracking, automated testing, and release pipelines.
Microsoft’s Azure DevOps Services is probably the most comprehensive toolset out there. While it is broad in its scope, pay-as-you-go licensing allows organizations to choose the components that they need now and to add additional components as they mature and grow.
Let’s look at a few Azure DevOps’ components:
As releases get smaller and increase in frequency, it gets harder to collect and track work items. Azure Boards combine flexible work item tracking with drag-and-drop sprint planning. Your team will be more productive with Boards, Backlogs, and Sprints all kept together. What’s better, Azure Boards can be connected to your GitHub repository to link comments and PRs to work items.
Kanban, Scrum, Agile, Lean? Azure Boards works with any number of project management methods and is easily adapted to the needs of your team.
Azure Pipelines automates builds and deployments, regardless of language or platform. What’s more, you can run parallel pipelines for Linux, macOS, and Windows. As you’d expect, Pipelines completely integrate with your Git repositories.
You can also ensure continuous delivery (CD) of your product to the cloud environment of your choice. Azure, of course, along with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.
Microsoft uses Pipelines themselves at the .NET Foundation. Before Pipelines, their engineering team was dealing with dozens of different git repositories, a broad range of tools, and several different continuous integration (CI) systems, creating confusion and inhibiting productivity. Just one of their components runs more than 600,000 automated tests for each pull request. With more than 50 pull requests per week, each with multiple iterations, the number of tests was in the billions.
The .NET Engineering Services team brought in AzureDevOps and Pipelines to bring all repos under a common directory structure, set of commands, and build-and-test logic. The team eliminated further barriers to productivity by moving all existing workflows from the different CI systems into a single system.
With support for everything from a ‘hobby’ project to the largest codebase in the world, Azure Repositories offers unlimited & private Git hosting as well as support for Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC). What’s more, Azure Repositories allows you to set up continuous integration & continuous delivery (CI/CD) to automatically trigger builds, tests, and deployments with every completed pull request whether using Azure Pipelines or your own tools.
Azure Repositories also protect your codebase and your quality metrics with completely customizable branch policies. You can keep code quality high by requiring code reviewer signoff, successful builds, and passing tests before pull requests can be merged.
An added bonus is that Azure Repositories features a code-aware semantic search tool that understands classes and variables, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.
Azure Test Plans
There are manual test plans and automated test tools, but Azure Test Plans bring them together.
Manual test plans can be created, executed, and tracked with actionable defects and end-to-end traceability. Assess quality throughout the development lifecycle by testing your desktop or web applications.
Exploratory test sessions allow the design and execution of tests simultaneously to maximize quality in modern software development processes.
As noted above, automated testing is a major component of Azure Pipelines.
When you’re ready to release, Azure Artifacts adds fully integrated package management to your CI/CD pipelines with a single click. Create and share Maven, npm, NuGet, and Python package feeds from public and private sources with teams of any size.
Because the packages are pre-built, they are easily shared & managed, and can easily be added to Azure Pipelines for testing and release.
Integration Reduces Risk
Because Azure DevOps is flexible enough to integrate with your existing tools and processes while offering all of the tools you need for DevOps success, it ultimately reduces the risk of migration to DevOps. Integration with Microsoft Power BI allows managers to track metrics across the development organization to ensure that their migration to DevOps is on track and to quickly identify and correct where there might be weaknesses.
Click here to learn more about the metrics that you should be tracking to measure the succes of your DevOps organization.
Better Operations Equals Better Business
While DevOps certainly offers many benefits to IT teams, the gains go well outside of that silo.
Faster development cycles allow businesses to push out new features faster, allowing them to be more agile in responding to their competition and to new requests from customers. Furthermore, a tightly integrated CI/CD platform means less downtime – and less downtime equals more revenue!
Partner With a Certified Azure DevOps Leader
Vertex has thirteen engineers certified at Microsoft’s highest level in Azure DevOps. Look to the DevOps experts at Vertex to guide your way to the efficiencies of DevOps and to help you choose the right tools to create repeatable, clean releases. We Got IT.
The India Microsoft Cloud Skills Challenge is a contest that attracts some of the brightest minds in software engineering and pushes them to perform feats of coding ingenuity. For 72 hours in mid-October, over 1,000 people in India battled in this tournament of intellect, creativity, and skill.
Vertex is pleased to share that our own Bhavani Pallekonda, Software Engineer, and Jagadeesh Srirangapuram, Senior Software Programmer, rose to respective second and ninth places. Vertex congratulates Bhavani and Jagadeesh for their initiative and hard work as they completed a series of tutorials, browser-based interactive coding, and scripting. The Microsoft Cloud Skills Challenge is part of the Partner Leadership Conclave 10, a virtual event that gives developers a chance to show off their skills and compete for prizes. “It’s an interactive way to learn the new things,” Pallekonda says. “Also, we were excited to complete the tasks.” Srirangapuram, who loves a good challenge, found the experience rewarding. “Initially, I never expected this high of a result,” he says. “But, it was fruitful. It was exciting to be challenged at each stage of the competition. I exceeded my expectations.”
Two top-ten finishers prove our team’s talent, hard work, and spirit of success. “It’s a pleasure to see two of our associates place so highly,” says Sudip Nandy, Head of Delivery, Hyderabad. “Not a small achievement against more than 1,000 competitors. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Additionally, 14 other Vertex employees took part in the contest, and all finished respectably. “It was gratifying to see so much interest from our team,” Sudip continued. “Vertex was well represented, and I know that if challenging weather conditions in Hyderabad didn’t interfere – causing power outages – all our contestants would have come through with flying colors.”
Not only is this distinction a feather in the cap of our associates, but it also gains Vertex visibility in the Microsoft Partner Network. “Congratulations to the team for participating and kudos to Bhavani and Jagadeesh for making the top ten,” says Ganesh Iyer, Principal. “This is an incredible achievement and will help elevate our brand as an elite partner in the Microsoft ecosystem.”
A round of applause to Vertex’s full team of participants: