Blog post

Comparing Three Self-Service Integration Architectures

By Mei Selvage | May 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

Self-service integration — including data preparation — increases agility and bridges information silos. Integration specialists, architects and IT managers should evaluate three complementary architectures to empower self-service: embedded integration, stand-alone integration and data preparation.


  • The increases in data volume, velocity and variety — introduced by cloud, mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data — are forcing organizations to pursue self-service integration. Both “citizen integrators” and “ad hoc integrators” are embracing self-service integration. Citizen integrators include data scientists, power users and business users, whereas ad hoc integrators include line of business (LOB) developers.
  • Self-service integration is possible through three complementary architectures: embedded integration (in data sources or in data consumers), stand-alone integration and data preparation. Each architecture includes several subtypes, which in turn come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Without the proper governance and architecture, self-service integration can cause many issues, such as inconsistent results, security violations, increased data sprawl, and brittle architecture caused by unmanageable point-to-point integrations.


  • Advocate bimodal integration. Mode 1 focuses on trust, governance and reusability, whereas Mode 2 focuses on agility, speed and risk reduction. To take a step further, declare upfront which mode you intend to use for each integration project.
  • Harvest the work of citizen and ad hoc integrators into enterprise assets for a shared data access layer. Shared data access provides trusted and reusable data services that comply with governance policies, enabling a dynamic digital marketplace.
  • Choose integration architectures systematically based on use cases. Integration specialists, architects and IT managers should proactively engage citizen and ad hoc integrators and guide the selection of self-service integration architectures. Adopt assessment criteria, such as transactional context, target audience, integration scope and data quality.
  • Use internal and external digital marketplaces to foster open exchanges of digital assets such as data, applications, algorithms and integration modules.

[For more information on self-service integration, please see Gartner’s research “Comparing Three Self-Service Integration Architectures“.]

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Leave a Comment