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Blogg mars 19, 2017

Why I love working with integration

Though I have been working with integration for almost 15 years I am still passionate about my job. What is it that makes integration so challenging, and what do you need to have in place to be able to provide integrations to a business that is more and more demanding?

I was asked to rewrite my blog written 1½ years ago in English to meet a broader audience.  Reading through the old blog was very interesting, a lot of things has changed but the central parts are the same this is hopefully mirrored in this blog.

Though I have been working with integration for almost 15 years I am still passionate about my job. What is it that makes integration so challenging, and what you need to have in place to be able to provide integrations to a more and more demanding business?

What is the challenge with sharing information between two systems? It seems easy, but to integrate directly between two systems is not the best way to do, this is a well-known fact, and no one would argue that this is the way to integration nowadays. Loose couplings, reusability and exposing business objects through API’s are key words that I think no one would argue against, it is the way integration is done today, right?

New features must be in place quickly and when "integration people" starts talking about loose connections, exposing business objects through API’s  and re-usability the projects wants the information in place now, and argues that the rest will be fixed later. Unfortunately, "later" never arrives, and as more quick fixes are put in place, and change management costs gets higher and higher, until again a major and costly "technology-lift" must be put in place. This does not get any better with digitalization, mobile apps, use of open APIs and Internet of things, all of which require safe and accurate information flows.

We at Enfo Integration have a solution which helps our customers to both ensure doing the Right Integration and doing the Integration the Right Way. The solution is called Baseline and is a collection of artifacts, tools and workshops through which Enfo helps our customers to put a well-functioning integration capability in place. It can be called Integration Competence Center (ICC), Center 4 Enablement (C4E) or just plain your companies Integration Capability.

The clever but at the same time challenging part is that with a series of workshops, Enfo enables our customers to build their own Integration capability by putting templates, guide-lines, processes and tools in place. With the help of our semi-manufactures we create customized material fitting your current situation.  The challenge we see for us with Baseline and for our customers with their integration set-up is that it must be maintained and constantly improved as both technology and needs change constantly. 

The paradox is that in order to ensure that integration demands can be met easily, fast and agile with quality at a good price it requires continuous hard work from a core integration team. To ensure that the large amount of work (integrations) can be done quickly and easily when the need arises, a small group must work hard to ensure that the supply line is optimally equipped and as far as it goes uses proven, standardized and automated solutions for the often recurring integration challenges.

This sums up why I think it's so fun with integration. Firstly, it will never be finished, because there is always an opportunity to do something a little better, and secondly, if we manage to do everything a little better it will directly affect the business and its possibility to succeed. Thirdly, but probably not last, working with Integration at Enfo gives me an opportunity to learn from integration experts every workday of the year. Just for fun I counted the collected number of years of Integration experience which we within Enfo Integration have. It sums up to almost 2000 years within all different integration areas and most technologies! This is quite mind boggling, in addition every month we add additionally 2½ years of experience.

Baseline is not a silver bullet with which Enfo Integration offers customers a complete solution that will work as a Perpetuum Mobile, but if you feel you need to improve your integration delivery to give your business the opportunity to achieve their visions at the rate needed to meet the market, please contact us and we will help you a bit on your way.

Kristina Lid

Baseline Manager, Enfo Integration