Who has been the largest (or at least one of the largest) server manufacturer in the world since the turn of the millennium, but whose servers nobody knows? No, this time the trail doesn’t lead to China, but to Silicon Valley, where Google uses its own servers to meet the considerable computer requirements for its search engine and advertising platform. According to Gartner estimates, Google had around 2.5 million servers in use in 2016 – today it could already be twice as many. Google is itself one of the world’s largest system houses in this respect.
Similar to Google, other cloud providers are no longer traditionally ordering their servers from manufacturers such as Dell or IBM, but filling their data centers with their own productions. Whether Salesforce, Microsoft, Facebook or Amazon – they all ensure that the server market as we knew it “evaporates” in the cloud.
The cloud might therefore represent a considerable risk for system houses that have so far concentrated on the installation of servers, storage and networks at the customer’s site. Who needs system houses when the servers are invisibly expanded rack by rack in the cloud data center and are therefore out of reach of the system service providers? System houses in the desktop sector are also being replaced by the cloud because updates are downloaded regularly via the cloud. The classic “system vendor”, who travels from PC to PC with a “platinum CD” to play the latest release, is as passé as the stoker on an electric locomotive. This is one of the reasons why smaller system houses are increasingly joining forces to form larger units. This gives them a chance to reach the critical size to, for example, offer their customers cost-effective managed services that keep the users’ infrastructure in good shape via the cloud and on behalf of the large cloud providers. But it is more lucrative for system houses to take on the complex and heterogeneous infrastructure of their customers and align it with digital transformation.
This includes a “modern pentathlon” of integration services that system houses have so far been happy to neglect:
Application integration: the software world is no longer as monolithic as the large application houses would like it to be. But the integration of the most diverse application architectures is not the core business of the standard providers. Here, system houses also have a huge market under the cloud.
Data integration: The integration effort becomes even more complex when it comes to combining the countless data sources from the cloud, the Internet of Things and mobile applications into a uniform database. Data governance is one of the most exciting challenges for two-thirds of IT managers today.
Process integration: And then it’s also about accompanying customers’ business processes through digital change. Customer and supplier relationships are becoming more and more complex and interlinked. It is becoming increasingly important to automate customers’ business processes within the entire supply chain and at the same time align them to future business models.
However, most system houses lack a uniform framework with which they can perform these integration tasks. Instead, they reinvent the integration wheel time and again – here in a Microsoft environment, there for an SAP user and then in an Oracle environment. In addition, new interfaces and integration scenarios have to be developed for the countless solutions of the many medium-sized providers of ERP systems.
This is expensive at first and often destroys the advantages of a reorientation already at the beginning. But everything would be so simple – for example with the actesy metadata framework. We have combined the experience of three decades of migration and integration projects and created a framework consisting of more than 250 adaptors with which almost any integration task can be solved – regardless of whether it is application, data or process integration or simply linking digital worlds.
System houses need such a framework if they want to solve today’s integration tasks cost-effectively and with high margins. With the actesy metadata framework the described tasks can be solved without problems – by every IT expert after a few hours of training.
Just – after all, why do you still need the system house?
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See you on your next digital project!