Building an Integration Strategy to Address Organizational Challenges

Building an Integration Strategy to Address Organizational Challenges

by Jose Herrera,
May 23rd, 2014.

As today’s organizations continue to adopt technology to accomplish their daily processes, many of their business challenges materialize when the needs for Integration are realized; and the need to implement efficiencies across the different areas of the organization becomes evident. At this stage, the organization has most likely evolved

As today’s organizations continue to adopt technology to accomplish their daily processes, many of their business challenges materialize when the needs for Integration are realized; and the need to implement efficiencies across the different areas of the organization becomes evident. At this stage, the organization has most likely evolved from a few individuals (one or two systems that do not exchange information with one another); a heavy load of paperwork that is shared across different groups, and no processes have been defined. Once these organizations begin to grow, communication challenges become a daily problem, and the exchange of information utilizing paper (even though necessary) starts to be considered primitive. Executives begin to worry that certain competitive advantages can be gained if Integration technologies are implemented in order to:

  • Document, streamline and automate business processes.
  • Seamlessly integrate information systems.
  • Reutilize technology components and provide a platform that allows for future growth.
  • Establish governance mechanisms that will ensure business continuity.
  • Properly classify and understand their data.
  • Suitably collect crucial business information, and present it to executives in a meaningful manner; in order to facilitate business decisions.

People. Process. Technology.

Here’s a perfect example illustrating the issues organizations face as they grow. For our purposes, let’s divide our example organization in to People, Process and Technology. This organization started small, and when technology got in the mix; and the organization began to grow, more processes started to materialize, and the need for better technology infrastructure was identified. The normal reaction to this is to buy more infrastructures: computers, servers, systems, etc.

Jose_1

The problem does not stop there, as the organization continues to grow, more people get hired. As more people join, more processes are identified, and suddenly, some of them become crucial to the business. Later on, the need for multiple individuals to access the same technology platform starts to become more evident. Things start to get complicated for these infrastructure components in the middle. Therefore, what does the organization do? Buy more infrastructure and implement more systems to distribute the workload. Even though its processes are enabled through the technology, people must be able to reach these processes through other supporting technologies; and organic growth starts to take place. By then, the leaders of the organization start to realize that Integration is needed; some systems need to communicate with one another and exchange data. So, the integration paradigm begins. However, by then, the organization’s legacy systems reach their end of life and the usual reaction is to buy a few brand new servers and additional infrastructure that will take over for those old computers. The data from the legacy systems is extracted and decommission of the old servers takes place. Even though a new set of infrastructure has been established, the organization has serious integration problems now.

Jose_2

This is where modern Integration technologies come into play. Integration technologies are not a silver bullet, and they do require some development effort, contrary to what most vendors advertise. However, once Integration technologies are implemented, we go from the previous picture to this picture:

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n this new scenario, modern Integration technologies allow the seamless addition of new applications, and enable the proper and timely decommission of applications or technology that have reached end of life. However, acquiring an Integration technology is not just about the purchase. A proper Integration Strategy must be in place ahead of time in order to avoid common pitfalls in the future such as: competing technologies, disjointed processes, unknown data quality, unsustainable point to point interfaces and a complex systems architecture.

Our Approach

Groundswell’s Integration Strategy methodology allows our clients to simplify the governance, acquisition, implementation and sustainment of modern Integration technologies, while allowing our customers’ People, Process and Technology gradually develop. Every business is different, which is why Groundswell believes there’s never a “one size fits all” answer. We pride ourselves on working with clients to customize an Integration Strategy that will help them build an effective and progressive organization.