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Integration & IT Modernization

Establishing an Integration Strategy and Roadmap

A recent Perficient post highlighted the need for an integration strategy and outlined the problems with legacy integration approaches and tools. This post offers an outline of the activities, topics for consideration and deliverables needed to create an integration strategy and roadmap.

Without being too prescriptive in the approach to an integration strategy, it is advisable to follow the form and content of a larger IT strategy and business plan – aligning with IT objectives, tactics and principles.

 “If you don’t have a strategy, you’re part of someone else’s strategy.” Alvin Toffler

An integration strategy must focus on delivering business value and creating an architecture foundation to achieve the business vision. To achieve quick wins, it is advisable to be pragmatic by looking at the impact to planned projects and how to alleviate pain points. This approach satisfies the long-term vision while considering short-term payback of investments.

It is best to pick and choose the activities most closely aligned to business problems and opportunities creating deliverables quickly that are easily changed – like model diagrams.

Consider the following activities, topics and deliverables when creating an integration strategy and roadmap:

Data collection and analysis of drivers and influencers

  • IT Strategy
  • Technology trends – mobility, cloud, big data, lightweight APIs, APIs as a product, digital transactions
  • Adaption of innovation to business and consumer demand – e.g. connected car and connected healthcare
  • Digital disruption of business models
  • Digital marketing strategy
  • Digital transformation strategy
  • Competitive analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • Pain points
  • Impact to planned capital projects

Technology selection and architecture

  • As-is-architecture
  • Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)
  • Technology requirements, categorization and selection
  • API as a product
  • Mobile Integration
  • SaaS Integration
  • Integration patterns, standards and guidelines for usage (see this post)
  • To-be-architecture aligned with business future state
  • Technology gaps and plans to fill gaps

Plans for people and organization

  • Role of the Integration Competency Center
  • Public APIs and development scale
  • Skills and gaps
  • API management – process and roles including public APIs
  • Line of business integrators (citizen integrator)

Process plans

  • Governance
  • Agility and the Software Development Lifecycle
  • Requirements and steps for self-service
  • Reuse
  • Standards and compliance

Integration strategy deliverables

  • Investments and business case
  • Mission
  • Goals
  • Risks and mitigation
  • Organization structure
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Policies and lifecycle governance
  • Roadmap – milestones, projects, people, process and technology
  • Catalog of strategic APIs
  • Timelines and estimates

There are likely topics that should be added or omitted from your plan but give each some consideration to see if relevant.

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Eric Roch, Chief Strategist, IT Modernization & Integration

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