Common pitfalls with integration

Integration enables connection between the applications and, eventually, the capabilities these applications deliver.
Keeping the domain specific integration logic inside the application provides a clearer separation of concerns and leads to a more scalable and flexible integration architecture.

Takeaway: Integration is not a standalone activity, let alone a separate team. The integration team is part of the application team, and so is the domain-specific integration logic a part of the application logic. However, a domain-agnostic integration platform can be an enabler. This “integration platform” can have, and perhaps must-have, a separate platform team that ensures the platform-as-a-service delivery model on behalf of the application teams.

Takeaway: View COTS products for integration as enablers and not the final product. The running cost and efforts with such products can be considerable. Suppose it is a part of a transformation, and some similar legacy technology needs to be phased out. It will then be essential to consider the cost and effect of potential changes in integration patterns for the applications and application teams. Therefore assess the overall benefit and ROI given its financial and effort costs.

Decomposing capabilities into lower levels and uncovering the interrelation and building integrations enhances the overall value proposition.

Takeaway: Look away from implementation-specific tunnel vision and consider the whys from capabilities and business value perspectives. By generating synergies between the capabilities, the business enhances its ability to reliably and consistently deliver specific business outcomes. An organization can benefit long-term and wholly by viewing the integration as a business enabler and growing out from a technology-only enclosure.

Integration specialists and business users (internal and external end-users) are involved in the entire value stream. But ad-hoc integrators are more focused on application integration around specific parts of the value stream.

Takeaway: Considering the internal and external users helps identify what truly matters. A careful evaluation of value from the user’s perspective and prioritization of user needs sets the scope and baseline for milestones in the roadmap. Decisions such as how real-time the data exchange needs to be, what services and data can be internally available, and what needs to be public boil down to user requirements and expectations relative to the market.

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