Lean Integration: An Integration Factory Approach To Business Agility is nearing its one-year publication anniversary and is already in its third printing – not to mention all the copies distributed through the various eBook formats. The question is why?
Clearly there is a tremendous amount of pent-up frustration about IT integration challenges. The ever growing volume of data fragmented across internal and external systems and cloud applications and the need to integrate it into a single version of the truth continues to be a roadblock to change. Integration projects cost too much, take too long, and sometimes are cancelled due to lack of results. So any approach that demonstrates practical solutions to this vexing problem is sure to be a winner.
But what exactly does Lean Integration do that makes it so compelling? In short it simplifies the IT challenges by rewinding the clock about 20 years. Back then IT was much simpler because each application system was an island (or silo) with just a few, and generally quite simple, integration points with other application systems. So each system owner could focus on managing and optimizing just his/her system without much need to worry about the rest of the enterprise. Now however, if a system owner wants to make a change, it requires extensive discussions with multiple teams over many months; even for a simple change. System owners don’t just have to worry about their system – they have to worry about everyone else’s as well. What a nightmare!
Lean Integration solves the problem in two ways. First, it explicitly takes the responsibility, and risk, for managing the integration dependencies away from the system owners, and it does it in a way that is service oriented and non- bureaucratic. Second, it eliminates integration development tasks from the critical path of projects by using factory concepts such as automation, patterns, and reusable objects to turn a traditional custom development activity into an assembly activity.
With these two elements in place, voila – the system owner doesn’t need to worry about the rest of the enterprise and life is much simpler. Another way to look at it is that you don’t necessarily need to get the entire enterprise to adopt Lean methods – you just need to get the integration team to do so. And when that happens, then each of the application silos is able to innovate more freely and adapt rapidly to change. As a result everything across the enterprise speeds up.
An old Chinese proverb said “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is now.” To borrow from the wise, the best time to adopt Lean Integration is a year ago when the book came out; the second best time is now. Check it out at www.integrationfactory.com and order your book today.