Are You Doing Techie Integration Or *Business* Integration?

Randy Heffner

“Figuring out how to think about the problem.” That’s what Albert Einstein said when asked what single event was most helpful in developing the Theory of Relativity. Application integration is a problem. A big problem. Not to mention data, B2B, and other domains of integration. As an industry analyst and solution architect, what I’m most interested in first is how to think about the problem.

Pop Quiz: The Goal of Integration

Which of the following statements best articulates the goal of integration strategy?

  1. The goal of integration is to keep data in sync across two or more siloed applications.
  2. The goal of integration is to improve business outcomes by achieving consistent, coherent, effective business operations.

The correct answer is B. Was that too easy? Apparently not, because most of the integration strategies I see are framed as if the answer were A. Most, but not all — and it’s the ones framed around B that I’m most interested in. Here’s the difference:

  • A-style integration centers on technology. It begins with data and business logic fractured across application silos, and then asks, “How can integration technologies make it easier to live with this siloed mess?”
  • B-style integration centers on business design. It begins with a businessperson’s view of well-oiled business operations: streamlined processes, consistent transactions, unified tools for each user role, purpose-built views of data, and the like. It designs these first — that is, it centers on business design — and then asks, “How can integration technologies give us coherent business operations despite our application silos?”
Read more

Meet One-On-One With Forrester Analysts At Our Business & Technology Leadership Forum 2008

Sharyn Leaver

Consistently rated as one of the most popular features of Forrester Events, one-on-one meetings give you the opportunity to discuss the unique technology issues facing your organization with Forrester analysts. Business & Technology Leadership Forum attendees may schedule up to two 20-minute one-on-one meetings with the Forrester analysts of their choice, depending on availability. Registered attendees will be able to schedule one-on-one meetings starting on Monday September 15, 2008. Book early!

Read more