Need Better, Faster Data Integration? Here's Your ICoE Checklist.

July 21, 2020
MARK CLIFTON
Need Better, Faster Data Integration? Here's Your ICoE Checklist.

Businesses run on data, and integration delivers that data where it’s needed. Because data is so important, integration has become a critical capability for every IT organization.

Unfortunately, in too many organizations, the practice of building integrations remains inconsistent, inefficient, and costly. Because developers lack company-wide standards and a repository of reusable components, integration projects take longer to develop, troubleshoot, and maintain. Instead of investing in new IT initiatives, companies find themselves spending time and money keeping old hand-coded integrations patched and running.

Improving the practice of integration would not only improve connectivity between applications, devices, and people. It would also free IT organizations to take on new, strategically important initiatives, such as product development, improvements to customer experiences, and workflow automation.

How an Integration Center of Excellence (ICoE) Can Help

The best way to improve the practice of integration is for a company to establish an integration center of excellence (ICoE) – a cross-departmental team of experts dedicated to applying best practices and standards to the development and management of integrations.

An ICoE brings together business and IT stakeholders to improve the practice of integration and ensure it serves the company’s strategic goals. This centralized model delivers many benefits, starting with the speed and assurance that comes from repeatable processes built on proven standards. ICoEs can even help streamline mergers and acquisitions.

We recently wrote about how one Boomi customer, Gilead Sciences, is leveraging an ICoE to gain operational agility and speed. To determine whether your company could benefit from an ICoE, ask yourself the questions below.

Get started with our free ebook, "Checklist for Building an Integration Center of Excellence."

IT Development and Business Results

  • Are your integration projects usually completed on time and within budget?
  • In the past year, has an integration project jeopardized a critical business initiative?
  • Is integration standing in the way of your organization's adopting new technologies or launching new products and services?
  • Would your organization’s business results improve if integration development times were cut in half?

Development Practices

  • Do your integration projects have clear priorities?
  • Are your integration projects aligned with your organization's business objectives?
  • Do your developers have software standards and reusable components they can use to improve consistency and reduce workloads when building integrations?
  • Do your developers have a standard platform they can use for all their integrations, whether those integrations are running on-premises, in the cloud, and in a hybrid configuration?
  • Do your developers have a standard platform they can use for all their integration needs, including application integrations, API lifecycle management, integration for EDI/B2B networks, and workflow automation?
  • Do your developers understand security requirements for the integrations they build? Can your organization’s security team review integrations for compliance?
  • Does your organization have a comprehensive data catalog of data sources?
  • Do your business users participate in development projects? Do they have a documented process for submitting requirements? Can they contribute to the configuration and management of less technical projects?

Operational Practices

  • Could your organization operate more efficiently if more applications and devices were integrated and people could get the data they need, on time?
  • Are all your business-critical system integrated with the backup systems needed for your disaster recovery plans?
  • Are potential workflow automation projects stalled by a lack of integration?
  • Could building integrations more quickly and reliably help the organization become more agile and efficient?

These are just a few of the questions that can help you get started. For a longer list, including questions to help you assess an ICoE you might have already begun to put in place, download our ebook, "Checklist for Building an Integration Center of Excellence."

Need additional help with your integration center of excellence? Boomi Professional Services offers a full suite of services to help you build — or improve — an ICoE. Learn more on our ICoE page.

About the Author

Mark Clifton is Boomi's chief enterprise architect. He leads and coordinates all aspects of Boomi's enterprise architecture (EA) professional services, including business, information, solution, and technical architectures to help customers accelerate digital transformation.