July 26th, 2018
At Visual Integrator Consulting, we have the pleasure of working with Fortune 2000 companies on integration projects and building in-house capabilities for integration and digital transformation.
One of the companies we recently worked with perfectly illustrates why so many enterprises today need an integration center of excellence (ICoE), also known as an integration competency center (ICC).
This company had some strong talent in its IT department, but it was treating each integration project as a blank-slate endeavor. Developers would start coding more or less from scratch, then discover they had overlooked a requirement such as security or monitoring and have to start over again, incorporating guidelines from another department. Progress was always “one step forward, three steps sideways.”
This ad hoc approach made integration work expensive and unpredictable. The development team had difficulty estimating how long projects would take. Estimates were usually off, sometimes significantly.
The team was losing credibility internally, and integration work simply wasn’t getting done at the pace that the business required. That’s the “before” picture.
Here’s the “after” picture:
- An IT organization with an ICoE combining employees from multiple development teams, operations staff, IT and data security groups, and business executives.
- Formal guidelines for integration that take into account software development lifecycle (SDLC) requirements, security requirements, operational requirements and testing requirements.
- A standard integration platform — the Boomi integration cloud — ensuring consistency and accelerating development with ready-to-use connectors and low-code design interfaces.
- Standard methodologies and a unified platform for building and managing all integrations.
- Increased reusability of code.
- Faster development cycles that deliver higher quality integrations.
The IT department is now able to easily spin up the integrations that business units request, within agreed-upon timeframes. Teams are more collaborative and efficient. Overall, the organization is more agile and more effective.
That’s the difference an integration center of excellence can make.
Benefits of an Integration Center of Excellence
This company offers a glimpse of the benefits that an ICoE can deliver. Here’s a more complete list:
- More repeatable processes, ensuring that teams don’t have to “re-invent the wheel” when starting new projects. (Boomi helps here with ready-to-use connectors, community-contributed configurations, and libraries of integrations that can be easily copied and modified.)
- Better compliance with security guidelines and other regulations.
- Greater business agility, since business-critical integrations can be scoped and built quickly and IT organizations can automate a growing number of workflows.
- Improved scalability, since integrations are built from re-usable components and interfaces.
- Support for “citizen integrators” — business users who can build or manage their own integrations using Boomi’s low-code interface following the best practices and integration patterns provided by the ICoE.
- Support for self-service enablement so developers and citizen integrators can find the integrations they need and easily incorporate them in their work to support business goals.
If you assemble the right team, create a roadmap, tackle some short-term projects and continue down the various development paths in your integration roadmap, you’ll eventually reach a point where everything works like a well-oiled machine.
If an integration project follows the best practices and tools provided by your integration center of excellence, your IT teams and business users can be confident they are building integrations the right way. And they can work faster, by having a central resource that can quickly educate them, guide them it makes sense for the business, was built well, and tested and deployed efficiently.
You now have the right integrations built by the right subject matter experts, built the right way and delivered on schedule. You’ve changed integration from a perfunctory requirement into something truly excellent. What enterprise wouldn’t want to do that?
About the author: Jordan Braunstein is chief technology officer and co-founder of Visual Integrator Consulting.