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Posted by Randy Heffner on August 8, 2013
“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?
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:
If you’re pursuing B-style integration and have some real-world experience you’d be willing to share, I’d like to chat. Please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real-World Examples Of Business-Centered Integration
Business-centered integration — or “digital business design” as I like to call it — aims to deliver measured improvement in specific business outcomes that a businessperson directly cares about. Its central model centers on six business design points, each of which a businessperson also cares about — or should (see Figure 1). As an integration strategy, digital business design aims to establish the decision models, design guidance, skills, delivery processes, agile governance, and infrastructure for a continuous cycle of business improvement. There are real-world examples of digital business design:
Reading about these cases, you may say, “These technologies have been around for a while. What’s different?” Actually, the question reveals the difference. These firms don’t focus on the technology the way the question does — and more to the point, the way that integration strategy tends to do. Instead, they first understand key business metrics, design the business to optimize the metrics, and then ask what technologies might help to deliver the business design.
If you’re curious for more, two key reports outline Forrester’s future vision:
Are You A Business-Centered Integration Leader? Can We Talk?
I’m on a bit of a mission to help folks understand the importance of business-centered integration, its challenges, and how to make it real. So, as I said above, if you’re doing it — or seriously planning for it — please let me know. I’d very much like to chat.
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