More Efficient Integration

Situation and Challenge

As part of their IT strategy, many companies have defined an integration strategy and invested in an integration platform. The aim is to create the conditions needed for a cost-efficient, reliable and loosely coupled integration architecture between business systems, databases, applications and partners.

For various reasons, the initiative sometimes does not achieve the expected results in the different areas. The costs can be perceived as high, it seems to take a long time to develop solutions, the platform is perceived as unstable or pricing for integration is difficult to predict.

Required skills – problems with implementation

Integration is used in almost all IT projects in some way. A platform for integration should be a common resource within the company where common structures are recycled. This enables costs to be minimized, the appropriate level of quality to be maintained and the shortest possible time to market to be achieved.

A major problem in relation to integration is too little or no recycling of common components or frameworks in the platform. This leads to quality-related problems in the integration platform and in the integration project taking longer than necessary. The platform also risks becoming unstable.

Another problem might be that the company has not allocated resources and funds to develop and manage the integration platform and the common solutions it contains. This leads to the project having to reinvent the wheel, redundant solutions being deployed and management costs growing more over time than necessary.

If non-optimized integration solutions are produced by individuals who lack sufficient expertise in the platform technology, the stability of the entire platform can be affected, leading to undesired consequences related to availability and performance. Since the platform is shared by several projects, inferior solutions can affect the solutions in other projects.

What is a structurally correct approach?

How can an organization proceed to improve its utilization of integration and benefit additionally from its integration platform? It is a matter of examining the organization’s integration status from several perspectives:

  • cost/time/quality
  • architecture
  • working method and organization
  • testing
  • documentation
  • management

When evaluating integration utilization at a company, Ferrologic generally recommends that a situation analysis be performed to ascertain a number of improvement proposals. An improvement plan can then be produced. The assessment is conducted by interviewing individuals with the relevant roles in ICC and by reviewing relevant documentation.

We have done this before!

We have successfully helped a number of organizations perform integration assessments, as well as highlight areas that work well and areas that have the potential to improve.

A public authority was faced with the challenge of establishing consensus for ESB integration (enterprise service bus) and utilization of BPM (business process management) for orchestrating processes. Ferrologic’s project included analyzing how work was currently being done, which tools were being used and who was responsible for what. The project was conducted through a series of interviews with managers, architects and developers. The results demonstrated potential for improvement in several different areas and explained the gains to be had with ESB and BPM approaches. The discussions resulted in feedback to individuals and their personal perceptions being collected. The project resulted in the authority obtaining a new common understanding to work from and the employees obtaining a better understanding of the specific technologies and how they fit into the authority’s operations.