Some of my recent posts have discussed how people, politics and projects have established integration silos throughout an enterprise that are costly, inefficient and inhibit the use of data as a corporate asset. How do you stop the madness? There are three key deliverables to breaking the silos and establishing an enterprise-wide integration initiative:
- Enlist sponsorship
- Establish an integration investment portfolio
- Create an Integration Competency Center (ICC)
Enlist sponsorship. First, you have to establish the business and technical case for an enterprise-wide integration approach. It should be straightforward to justify that the project-by-project approach is too costly, too inefficient (from time and resource perspectives) and too ineffective (since each project is re-inventing the wheel.)
But the justification isn’t just about saving money and time in the long-run, but more importantly as the key ingredient to truly implementing data governance. Of course, the goal of the justification is to enlist sponsorship, both from your business and IT leadership. Although many initiatives start from the bottom in order to establish success and credibility, at some point, to truly achieve an enterprise-wide approach your CFO and CIO have to become sponsors. The CFO is necessary both from a budget and a data governance (ownership) perspective and your CIO has to commit the IT organization to approaching integration from an enterprise-wide perspective and not just on a tactical project basis.
Establish an integration investment portfolio. Second, remember that money talks and you won’t get buy-in from the business or IT on the next project involving integration unless budgetary approval is tied in.
The most effective approach to make integration investment decisions from an enterprise perspective is to establish an integration investment portfolio. With this approach, you examine each project to determine if an integration component exists. If so, you examine that component in the context of all the other integration components of other projects. This review will determine if there are any overlapping or complementary aspects between projects, thereby eliminating redundant expenditures and leveraging work across projects.
Examining the integration components of projects across the enterprise enables an enterprise to leverage integration expertise and implement an overall integration platform in a cost-effective and resource-effective manner.
Create an Integration Competency Center (ICC). Finally, an enterprise needs to create an ICC to enable enterprise-wide integration deployments. Too often, people assume that a competency center has to be a centralized group within a company controlling and staffing all integration projects. Although that is one model that can be used, there are other alternatives that can be implemented based on the circumstances within an enterprise.
I'll discuss these alternatives in the next post.