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is not an easy . After all, as Ross Mason has often said, MuleSoft was founded to escape the drudgery, or “donkey work,” of data integration. Integrating systems like mainframes, databases, or big data stores is hard enough, but where things really become interesting is when you have to integrate those systems with cloud applications, mobile applications, social networks, connected devices, and so forth.

The reality of modern business is that customers, employees, and will use all these channels, so the business has to find solutions to connect them to existing enterprise data. This is what Gartner calls pervasive integration: defined as “the act of integrating on-premises and in-the-cloud applications and data sources, business partners, clients, mobile apps, social networks and ‘things' as needed to enable organizations to pursue digital business, bimodal IT and other modern business and technology strategies.” That's a very large number of things that need to connect, and integration needs will expand as technology evolves and stakeholders want to use new channels to optimize business functions.

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Planning for pervasive integration requires a different way of thinking about connectivity. Directors of integration are finding their established integration platforms insufficient for all their current needs; any integration platform will need to accommodate both on-premises systems and ones based in the cloud.

Gartner's recommendation is to consider a hybrid integration platform, defined as “a combination of on-premises and in-the-cloud integration and API management capabilities.” This type of integration platform is characterized by its ability to address a multiplicity of use cases, deployment models, and constituents, which gives it the flexibility to be able to accommodate a variety of business priorities.

As technology changes, integration needs will change too. It's important to consider whether the integration platforms of two or three years ago can accommodate your future business needs. Take a look at Gartner's report to learn more.