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What is Enterprise Architecture and What are its Benefits?

By Michael Cardillo | Mon, Mar 23, 2020

Understanding Enterprise Architecture (EA)

Welcome to the first post in our Enterprise Architecture blog and video series. In this series, we'll explore the importance of EA in achieving business goals, highlight best practices, discuss pitfalls to avoid, and examine how organizations are leveraging EA to maximize value from their technology investments.  Check out the video or read the transcript below. 


My name is Mike Cardillo, and I run the Enterprise Architecture practice for Lightwell. I've been in IT for about 30-35 years, and I've been doing Enterprise Architecture for about 20-25 years.

I've spent the last 10 years in consulting in Enterprise Architecture and have helped companies with creating and running EA programs, as well as building strategies such as digital strategies, transformation strategies—and how we use Enterprise Architecture to drive the business.

 

Enterprise Architecture is about how you align your business investments—your projects essentially—with your business goals and objectives, and that is broken in most organizations.

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Why Integration Modernization is Essential for Digital Transformation

By James Cantin | Tue, Feb 18, 2020


Part 1: Understanding Digital Transformation

This post is the first of our three-part series, "Why Integration Modernization is Essential for Digital Transformation."  Check out part 2, "The Disruptor" and part 3, "Implementing Modern Integration." 

The Lightwell office in downtown Rochester, NY, sits at the top of a 96’ waterfall, providing us with an incredible view of the historic High Falls neighborhood and the Genesee River gorge.

Years of Integration and Enterprise Architecture experience have also provided us with a unique viewpoint as to the role of modern integration in Digital Transformations.

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Integration Modernization Series Part 2: The Disruptor

By James Cantin | Tue, Feb 18, 2020

This post is the second of our three-part series, "Why Integration Modernization is Essential for Digital Transformation."  See our other posts: Part 1, "Understanding Digital Transformation," and Part 3, "Implementing Modern Integration." 

In the first article of this series, Understanding Digital Transformation, we used the examples of Kodak and Xerox; two companies where digital technologies proved devastating. Both struggled to step away from their legacy business while at the same time trying to understand and apply the new technology. Most importantly, leadership struggled to think differently and apply the capabilities to new business models.

For other companies, Digital Transformation is viewed as an opportunity. Let's explore an example of a company embracing Digital Transformation as they try to become the disruptor in their industry.

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Integration Modernization Series Part 3: Implementing Modern Integration

By James Cantin | Tue, Feb 18, 2020

This post is the third of our three-part series, "Why Integration Modernization is Essential for Digital Transformation."  See Part 1, "Understanding Digital Transformation," and Part 2, "The Disruptor." 

In the previous article in this series, "The Disruptor," we explored how one company has combined two disruptive technologies to create a trust-based marketplace that could potentially transform an industry. 

Chances are your experience with Digital Transformation will look very different. But there are steps we should take so that our organization is better prepared for the inevitable disruption new technology brings. We'll explore these below as "Integration Modernization Lessons."

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Combatting Organizational Software Silos with IBM Transformation Extender for Integration Servers

By Connor Smith | Wed, Jul 17, 2019

In this blog post, I will explore the IBM Transformation Extender (ITX) extension for IBM App Connect Enterprise (ACE, formerly IBM Integration Bus, IIB), highlighting how taking advantage of these two products in harmony can achieve operational efficiency.

 

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Understanding App Connect Enterprise as an API Microgateway

By John Hawkins | Thu, Apr 11, 2019

One of IBM's best-known secrets is that they have two solutions that can act as API Management microgateways.

This is a short post to highlight the various ways that you can expose APIs using IBM products and, in particular, the IBM App Connect Enterprise (formerly IIB) microgateway functionality.

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Want a 360-Degree View of Your Customers? Look to APIs.

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Feb 05, 2019

It’s no secret that customers want a connected, on-demand experience—but companies often fall short of delivering on those expectations.

According to the Consumer Connectivity Insights 2018 report, 81 percent of consumers are frustrated with what they perceive to be a disconnected experience, and more than two-thirds of consumers say a disconnected experience would make them consider switching service providers.

Part of this may be because 65 percent of consumers also want to interact with companies via messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but a large part of the disconnected experience is because companies don’t have a 360-degree view of the customer.

The research found that less than 10 percent of companies have a 360-degree view of the customer. They only have access to a fraction of customer information in real-time, which not only hampers customer service levels but also makes it challenging to create personalized Web and mobile interfaces, applications and other tailored experiences for their customers.

However, organizations often face challenges when attempting a 360-degree view of the customer, usually due to their current IT architecture. Manual aggregation is too time-consuming and doesn’t deliver data in real-time. The data changes quickly, making it difficult to process in a timely fashion. Their static data lakes are not flexible enough to allow companies to get the most from their data, and integrations can be complex and brittle due to the number of disparate systems and the data silos they create.

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6 Shocking Truths About the Real Costs of Data Breaches

By Lightwell | Wed, Jan 09, 2019

After its massive data breach, Equifax estimated that its related costs would total $439 million by the end of 2018—but the real costs could be upwards of $600 million after dealing with government investigations and civil lawsuits. While this could be the most expensive data breach in history, the sheer volume of records drove up the costs exponentially.

Data breaches are costlier than most people think—and the cost keeps on growing. The 2018 study Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach Study found that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, an increase of 6.4% over 2017.  According to the overall findings from the study, data breaches continue to be costlier and result in more records being stolen year after year.  And no matter the size of a company, records are at risk.

Data breaches are the most expensive in the US and Canada, averaging $233 and $202 per capita, respectively, according to the Ponemon Institute. While cost fluctuates across industries and countries, the number clearly shows a dire truth: data breaches cut significantly into a company’s profits, often deeply.

But the real cost of data breaches goes much deeper than just the data lost; factors at play include missed opportunities, lost customers, and costs associated with remediating the data breach. In addition, certain factors like third-party involvement can increase the cost of data breaches. Let’s explore some of the additional costs.

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3 Ways Financial Services Companies Are Capitalizing on APIs

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Jan 03, 2019

While some financial institutions may not be known for being on the cutting edge of innovation, several powerful forces have been driving the need for digital transformation, the development of new products and services, and more compelling customer experiences in the financial services industry.

Market conditions like an uncertain economy and increasing regulations, combined with increased customer expectations and agile new entrants to the market, have led financial institutions to move forward with digital initiatives to help be on the leading edge of technology.

However, this has not come without its pains. Business leaders are under pressure to deliver digital transformations faster, along with reduced costs. IT leaders must deliver increased volumes of projects, remove IT as the bottleneck to innovation, and move the focus of the department from keeping the business running to growing the business. Application architects face pressure to incorporate new digital technologies into legacy stacks (including the trusty mainframes) in an agile, flexible way to avoid creating brittle integrations that require constant maintenance. The IT department is being called upon to drive change.

At first glance, traditional, point-to-point integrations may seem like the most logical choice to link together disparate systems and provide access for customers and partners. However, these types of integrations are time-consuming, very system-dependent, and costly to maintain. Each additional system requires new coding and connections, and when the system needs an upgrade, developers and architects are left scrambling to ensure the code is compatible with the upgrade.

Is there a better way than this duct-tape approach?  Leading financial services institutions have already discovered it: APIs. With an API-led integration approach, these institutions are improving their expense to revenue ratios, attracting and retaining customers, and responding rapidly to industry threats. Furthermore, their API Management solutions provide important connectivity, security, and change management capabilities to meet the needs of line of business users, customers, and partners.

In this post, we’ll explore three real-life examples of financial services companies leveraging APIs and the advantages they have achieved.

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The Importance of Store Enablement in the Omnichannel Customer Experience

By Lori Angalich | Fri, Dec 28, 2018

As many of us rushed to find just the right gifts and have them in-hand in time for our holiday gatherings this year, we experienced first-hand the importance of retail stores in the overall omnichannel order fulfillment experience.

In some cases, after ordering online and opting to pick up in store, everything went smoothly and we had what we needed in-hand quickly, as expected. Wonderful! Everyone’s happy, right? (Unless your gift recipient is just that impossibly picky).

In other situations, we waited in long lines to pick up our orders or stood frustrated at the customer service desk as a frazzled store associate struggled to locate an item we ordered online for pickup in-store.

When I experienced this last week, it seemed that the retailer's online inventory information didn’t reflect reality, and there was no indication of a problem until I arrived to pick up my order.  After 30 minutes of watching multiple store associates making phone calls, getting help from managers, and running around the store looking for misplaced inventory, I had to cancel my purchase and found another retailer that had what I needed. It may be a while before I choose the "Buy Online, Pick up in Store" (BOPIS) option from that retailer again. 

Sound familiar? I hope not, but chances are, you have dealt with this type of frustration at some point.  Let’s explore the good and the bad of the in-store experience in Omnichannel, and why store enablement is so important.

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