Holistic Integration Is Primarily About Strategy

While the increasing capability of tools to cross integration silos is a significant development, the main thrust behind holistic integration efforts inside of enterprises should be focused on bringing together the disparate integration teams (for application, B2B, process, and data integration) to create a comprehensive enterprise integration strategy and implementation plan. These teams have traditionally operated in isolation, but that has to change if we really want to make progress in improving the success of integration efforts. As the following chart shows, this process is tool agnostic.

There are many hurdles to this approach, not the least of which will be internal resistance from individual team members. However, we have spoken with a few organizations that have adopted this strategy, and they believe they are on the right track. Is your organization considering this? Does this approach make sense? Please share your thoughts.

Comments

Holistic Integration

My client (a State Government) has just begun a huge "integration" effort. While the App+Process+Data could be argued to encompass all angles, we do see a few more that need attention - mainly because they are big and hairy enough to demand separate attention. Perhaps this only means that my client is "far too behind on the EA maturity curve" from the perspective of your diagram (i.e., fast forward a few years and then we reach your starting point?). Not too sure of it though.

a) Infrastructure Operations: Each project has its own Infra and hates to use common resources; the common infra ops team are so wedded to processes that they don't care if customers walk away rather than fill their forms up)
b) Customer Services Integration: Each department / project thinks they need to own the citizen engagement channels and customer services separately. Integrating these is a priority.
c) Diverse contracts and corresponding SLAs: Each *part* of the shared infra/services is managed by a different contract. Bringing all these together to provide a reasonable base-platform on to which a "silo-app" can even attempt integration appears a basic need.

While I understand (and agree with) the ideas behind "planning" and "strategy", I do have difficulties on "what are the elements of such and a strategy". It seems as though we need to make it up as we go and hope we got all angles covered. I am fully with you on the "Integration Competency Center". No matter what name we give it eventually, it is an absolute necessity. One of the key resources (?) we plan to include in such a center is an "Integration Test Center". We hope to make this a Virtual Data Center on a private Cloud - so that we can bring up test environments quickly on demand and help silo-apps build the confidence (= remove the FUD factors / risk aversion) to make the big move.

Holistic Integration

Thanks for sharing your perspective Sastry. You bring up several good points.

A holistic approach to integration is a new concept that has not had all the details "fleshed-out" yet. I hope to be providing more information on best practices in this area as I complete more detailed interviews with organizations that are actually implementing this strategy. So stay tuned!

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Holistic Integration

Ken, I was very pleased to see this blog article. We have been practicing holistic integration in the SMB/SME space for the past two years. Its been a hard slog ! We have developed a methodology for SMBs that when we apply, and they are willing to listen the ROI is big. Its nice to see that we are not nuts. Check out our blog @ blog.virtuallogistics.ca
Very best
Robin Smith