As computing in general turns more and more towards the cloud, the same trends are present in the field of integration. The integration trends are moving towards iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service), which Gartner defines as “a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations” (1).
Along with the change of paradigm in the field of integration environment or infrastructure, came the change in the area of who performs the development. The term “Citizen developer” applied to the field of integrations equals “Citizen Integrator”.
Since the integration suite market is competitive, and the idea that business users can create integration flows without bothering their IT department is alluring, the integration suite providers embraced the idea fully. But how does that idea live in practice?
From our experience, the Citizen Integrators have great potential. They usually own the knowledge of the area that they will build integration flows for, most of them are tech-savvy and experienced in using SaaS applications.
Although they are are very well capable of preparing some simple integration flows, there are certain aspects that require special attention:
- The Citizen Integrators are usually not that aware of IT security. Security is becoming an increasing concern, and Citizen Integrators often lack the technical knowledge in order to address security issues;
- Optimization of integration workflows can be technically challenging. If the integration workflow includes large workloads, than choosing the appropriate protocols and technologies is crucial;
- Citizen Integrators may disregard certain integration patterns, which can lead to difficulties in supporting and maintaining the integration flows.
The Citizen Integrators should not be disregarded or even forbidden to collaborate in developing the integration workflows. However, they need guidance and assistance from Integration Specialists, that would be there for advising and guiding them.