By Kedar Patwardhan, Founder-Director of Sucoso Services Pvt. Ltd.
In the fast paced technology driven businesses, quick turnaround solutions like microservices often take the precedence over “planned” integration. This strategy, although in short term, provides for better business value, in the long run, creates unmanageable technical debt. As uncontrolled business debt erodes business’s ability to grow further, uncontrolled technical debt erodes IT department’s ability to fund future innovations. Although in many cases it’s an easiest approach to take, piecemeal achievements are short lived. Soon, IT teams find themselves lost in a sea of fragmented software gizmos.
Nevertheless, proving the value of a horizontal function such as Integration has become extremely challenging in the digital era. The reasons being:
- Inability of integration teams to appreciate the disruptive technology changes happening around them and to speak the language that would align with the wider audience
- Control and command nature of traditional integration governance which values hierarchies over knowledge networks
Below, I suggest a five step approach to help Integration Heads rejuvenate the integration function within their organization.
- ACKNOWLEDGE AND EVANGELIZE THAT INTEGRATION IS NOT OPTIONAL
Increase in the complexity of organizational systems with every new information technology wave is an implicit phenomenon. And with the ‘Hybrid IT’ models that have emerged in the Digital Era, this has become more prevalent.
If organizations leave these systems to evolve on their own, the complexity leads to “spaghetti” architecture which eventually undermines the benefits of ridding on to a new technology wave.
As such, the very first step one should take in creating a winning enterprise integration strategy is to acknowledge and evangelize the very fact that integration is not optional.
- CREATE AN INTEGRATION ROADMAP THAT REFLECTS ENTERPRISE REALITIES
Digital Era has given birth to new forms of organizations which can be broadly classified as Digital Native, Digital Enabler and Digital Aspirant. Knowing where your organization fits in puts you in good stead to devise an integration road-map with low entry barriers. This along with your awareness of enterprise operating model and business priorities shall guide your unique and organizationally relevant definition of integration vision.
- BE A GENERALIST AND BUILD CONSENSUS
Remember, Digital is about anytime, anywhere and everything. This demands you to view integration challenges from cross-disciplinary perspective more than ever before. To produce an actionable integration strategy, one has to wed digital business models with multi-layer technology stacks while strengthening relations across and beyond your organization.
- PLAN FOR BIMODAL IT ENVIRONMENT
To succeed in the Digital Era, organizations need a new way of thinking about Enterprise IT: an agile front for innovation, a stable core for sustainability and an intelligent middle for adaptability. Consequently, one should plan for open, governable and data-centric integration landscape that can scale on demand.
- DELIBERATE, EXPERIMENT AND ADAPT
It’s an era of ideation, experimentation and discovery, and enterprise integration is not an exception to this. That said, you need a deliberate integration strategy to guide your experiments towards desired business outcomes. By combining deliberate planning with emergent integration technology practices, organizations can create a controlled learning environment to efficiently drive business value.
Kedar Patwardhan is a founder-director of Sucoso Services Pvt. Ltd. and an avid researcher in strategic change management and enterprise engineering. His uncanny ability to revive troubled projects and initiatives with simple and inclusive approaches earned him a reputation of prolific change agent on a global stage.
He holds a Master’s Degree in technology change management from Lancaster University Management School and Bachelor’s Degree in engineering, in addition to several professional accolades including TOGAF® accreditation to his credit.