The Importance of an Integration Competency Centre

The Importance of an Integration Competency Centre

Thabo Malebe
19 May 2022

Integration Services such as webMethods, Mulesoft and Azure Integration Services increase organizational efficiency and cut operational costs by delivering trusted, timely information whenever is needed. An Integration Competency Center (ICC) plays an important role in making these services happen.

The purpose of an Integration Competency Centre

An Integration Competency Center (ICC) is responsible for governing the Integration Platform and ensuring best practices, processes, and standards are followed within the organization. For example, best practices can include reviewing, approving service naming conversions, solution design, and providing guidelines to project teams. Additionally, with an ICC, your organization can:

  • Reduce project delivery times, development, and maintenance costs by optimizing available resources,
  • Increase control and management of the business or technology infrastructure,
  • Lower total technology of ownership by promoting the reuse of building blocks, application components and business rules,
  • Improve customer service by integrating information and establishing consistent processes enterprise-wide,
  • Leverage past success to simplify future projects.

Having an ICC is necessary, as it helps provide structure, processes, policies, and best practices to your IT solution. Similarly, the ICC plays a vital role in ensuring that development teams build their integration solutions in an appropriate manner. Support teams also need to plan for new service requirements and ensure that the project teams are receiving adequate support to deliver the Integration solutions.

Why you need an Integration Competency Centre

However, the lack of an Integration Competency Centre within your integration space could result in an uncontrolled integration platform, no proper integration vision and strategy, poor integration solutions, unnecessary costs, and bad reputations for development teams. Additionally, in the absence of an ICC, you could end up having Integration Spaghetti, which will make it complex for the team to replace. Therefore, not having an ICC could lead to:

  • Having an uncontrolled integration platform where the project team creates services as they please or without guidelines,
  • Lack of documentation and poor quality documentation,
  • Using the wrong integration pattern,
  • Using the wrong integration technology
  • Create duplicate integration solutions instead of reusing an existing solution,
  • No reviews and approvals on the solution designs, which could result in the solution being built in a poor manner,
  • Poor integration of vision and strategy,
  • No reviews on the new and existing integration services,
  • No Governance on the common integration components or packages.

Why you should outsource your Integration Competency Centre

By outsourcing your ICC, you will gain a dedicated team to assist with data integration and placement, as well as integration patterns and integration technology to use for integration solutions. Outsourcing your ICC can also assist with setting the integration vision and strategy, as well as researching and investigating new technologies relevant to the Enterprise Applications domain. Some advantages of an ICC can include:

  • Reduce development costs with reusable components and transformations,
  • Increase data quality for business users,
  • Leverage best practices,
  • Managed integration platforms so developers don’t create components without guidelines
  • Positioning of new technologies with existing technologies in the Enterprise Applications Domain
  • Improve decision making with deeper visibility into operational systems
  • Having proper Technical Documentation such as Technical Architecture Design, Development Guidelines and Standards in place.
  • Govern common integration components
  • Access management to the integration documentation
  • Management of Application Programming Interface (API)

Challenges of an ICC

As previously mentioned, the lack of an ICC can cause serious issues for your business. By outsourcing your ICC, it can play a vital role within the integration space by providing proper guidance/direction to both business and the project teams on how to successfully build a reliable integration solution. However, ICC Governance should ensure that best practices, processes, and standards are being followed. By having an ICC team, you can overcome the following challenges:

  • Project teams not involving the ICC Governance in the initial phase of their project. This can result in poor solution design,
  • Project teams not placing project documentation onto the document repository,
  • Developers not going through the development standards guide the ICC put in place,
  • Project teams not involving all the necessary stakeholders and ICC before scoping for the integration work,
  • Project teams creating duplicate integration work.

How Integrove can help you

At Integrove, we have a team of dedicated professionals that are able to assist organizations to implement and govern their integration capability through an Integration Competency Center (ICC). We assist with integration vision and strategies, research and investigate (and also conduct proof of concepts) new emerging technologies relevant for their Enterprise Applications.

Integrove can help you govern your Integration Platform and plan, design, implement and sustain your integration strategy with our integration specialists.

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