Next Generation Integration Competency Center (ICC)

Next Generation Integration Competency Center (ICC)

The Integration Competency Book was published 11 years ago and to our delight is still going strong. Every month we see a steady stream of purchases through Amazon and iBooks from all corners of the world. It is rewarding to see the ongoing interest and to appreciate the timeless value of a book about foundational practices that doesn’t age with time. However we also receive regular queries about when the next book is coming as well as suggestions for topics we omitted in the first ICC book. We published a companion book, Lean Integration, in 2010 but we still get requests for the next ICC book.

The pressure for a Next Generation Integration Competency Center has gained momentum since Gartner started promoting Bimodel IT and publishing new research such as The Integrator’s Dilemma: Can a Bimodal Approach Balance Integration Agility and Control?  So our plan is to publish a Next-gen ICC book by the end of 2016!  That right; you heard it here first.  Consider this a formal announcement!  David Lyle and I collaborated to write the ICC and Lean Integration books, and this time we’re happy to include a third collaborator, Rob Karel.

To get things started, let’s hear from the authors.  What exactly is the Next Generation ICC?

Rob: The Integration Competency Center brilliantly introduced best practice, functional and architectural alignment and cross-initiative scale to formerly tactical and disconnected integration initiatives.   The secret sauce of ICC was to suggest investing in data integration as an enterprise competency, not simply a line item in a project plan.

What’s been changing at a furious pace over the past decade is the need for integration and data management competencies to be more closely tied to business strategies and outcomes.   Data as an enterprise asset is no longer simply rhetoric – business leaders are finally putting their priorities and investment into improving the accessibility, trust and security of their data assets.   But they are not doing this for the sake of their data.   Business and IT leaders today partner to build business cases for data investments tied directly to strategic imperatives like reducing regulatory risk, improving customer engagement and loyalty, optimizing core business processes and ultimately driving increased revenue and profitability.

While the original ICC set the foundation for IT to optimize its practices and competencies around data management, the Next Generation ICC –the Information Competency Center – must create a bridge connecting the business value derived from trusted data with the people, processes, architectures and enabling technologies needed to deliver that value.

Dave: The megatrends that converged over the last several years around mobile, social, cloud, big data, and IoT have made integration a more urgent problem but has also given us new tools and “organizational realizations” we can use to get ahead of the problem.  The primary technical impediment to getting business value out of data is not Volume, it is Variety.  Variety MEANS INTEGRATION!!!  The Next-Gen ICC is the combination of organizational structures, business-oriented IT services, and computer-aided utilities that allow us to manage complexity, not be managed by it.

So, as we said in Lean Integration, the problem will not be solved by hundreds of developers creating thousands of unique integration “works of art”, but rather realizing that all of these problems follow patterns we’ve seen before; from the organizational point-of-view down to the “address cleansing” code point-of-view.  Enterprises taking advantage of these known patterns are the enterprises that are leaders in their industry – the enterprises that are leaders in getting business value out of data.

By following the common patterns and recognizing the services that a Next-Gen ICC provides, we have the additional advantage of being able to communicate the value (and the cost) to the business of the data and the decisions that data drives.  The Next-Gen ICC is all about getting better, cheaper, and faster in a way that we can also continuously demonstrate to the business.

John:  The biggest system in most organizations is the Enterprise Integration System.  The ICC brought visibility to the traditionally fragmented approach and provided guidance for simplification and a new IT operating model. The ICC positioned integrations not as point-to-point data exchanges, but collectively as a first class business system.

Now we are taking the take the next step to treat integration not as a reaction to a fragmented application landscape, but rather as a strategy where the business leads the transformation. After all, data by itself is ambiguous and has little intrinsic value – it’s only in the context of applying the data in a business context that it has meaning and drives values. That’s when data becomes information and hence the need for an Integration AND Information Competency Center.

Now we’d like to hear from you, our readers.  Do you think this book is a good idea?  If so, what topics or questions would you like to see it address?


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  • Noor Basha Shaik

    Hello John,

    I am asked to justify the savings in costs of Informatica licenses through a shared services Informatica PowerCenter environment. We have a license which never expires i.e. no incremental costs. We upgrade the product to latest versions. At the moment, there are 4 projects which have deployed their IT solutions on the shared services platform. How can I really project the license costs savings in this scenario? Any thoughts please.