Monday, September 13, 2021


Those organizations that have better integration maturity outperform their competitors and tend to be more responsive to increasing pace of changes and develop a cohesive set of business capabilities for accelerating performance.

Organizations become over complex with overloaded information and different components some of them work fine, others are simply misplaced or redundant. Many companies that get stuck at the lower level of organizational maturity operate as the sum of pieces, rather than an integral whole, with the possibility to become dysfunctional or even fall apart. Integration is the key to ensure that the application ecosystem offers real value and also is necessary for future agility.

 A holistic integration framework is key for an effective organizational capability portfolio. Through quality integrations, business capabilities, and assets inside the enterprise are easily combined with assets and capabilities outside the enterprise to build core competency.

A framework approach clarifies the multiple goals & objectives of a variety of integration: Integration is one of significant steps in bridging silos - information silo, functional silos, process silos, talent silos, cultural silos or the multitude of management silos. By category, there are technical such as information technology integration, idea/innovation integration, operations integration, talent integration, governance/risk management integration or customer-centric integration. Thus, integration has to be done with a “big picture” - having the big picture in mind to ensure the goal of integration is aligned with the strategic goals of the organization. High standardization and high integration lead to unification and improve organizational agility.

An effective integration provides a focus for managing an integration relevant business initiatives and applications in a structural way. The elasticity and resiliency of any frameworks start with an understanding that we are trying to provide a foundation for continued success. Integration is the key to ensuring that the application ecosystem offers real value and also is necessary for future agility, overcoming the symptom of' "lost in translation," see patterns, generalization, standards, context, etc. Usually high standardization enhances high integration, however, the goal of integration should not be the construction of a monolithic standard that is incapable of adapting to the changing needs for innovation and the long term business prosperity.

Do performance/cost analysis of integration related business initiatives and evaluate the overall integration management effectiveness: Integrating the right systems for the right business reasons can be extremely valuable, however, in many cases, integration can be very difficult, costly, especially with highly disparate systems. The integration hairballs grow so complex that it begins causing dysfunctional systems and decelerating business performance. Not to mention that there’s financial struggling: each integration effort perhaps spins off into chain reactions that may not be recognized until the budget is gone. Thus, like anything else you do in business for achieving high performance results, there should be some justification for integration.

Technically, Integration could be very fuzzy and hard to justify ROI. Integrating business processes in dissimilar businesses that have little in common makes little sense. Integration has a set of costs and benefits that are determined by the situation and what is integrated. The management should understand that "integration" is not always cost-effective, and estimate whether those costs should be offset by benefits before attempting integration. How about the value/cost ratio? How about short term win vs. long term? How about user feedback and overall customer experience? Flexible integration is required in order to meet the variety of business cases that exist, and integrate when a justification can be made for doing so and improve the overall return on investment.

An integration framework rectifies principles and develops the best practices to improve integration success rate: Integration is very simply the task of connecting systems so they can share and consume each other's data, process, resources or talent, etc. .The successful integration will depend on the underlying business relationships between all of the crucial points and how they influence each other in building differentiated business competency. A set of well established principles helps to clarify the purpose of integration and engage all the people, perhaps cross boundaries, involving working together as a team to excel in working collaboratively, creating a disciplined, managed space for developing and testing new models, products, and business approaches.

Integration is the cure to silos, thus, it’s always important to collect information and feedback for all related parties; understand all relevant components inside-out and outside-in, so you can put them in the right place, glue them or lubricate for ensure that they become a holistic entity rather than sum of parts. Therefore, it is critical to break down the silo mentality and apply a holistic approach. More organizations are looking for integration best practices with portfolio management tools to help them manage a balanced “run-grow-transform” portfolio by eliminating redundancy and optimizing processes, resources/cost, etc. The merging lightweight technology and agile principles and practices enhance integration practices and optimize the whole process in ways that perhaps were not possible before.

An effective framework enables the management to manage integration risk holistically: Risk is inevitable in any type of management activities. Integration risk is complex because there are a variety of purposes and goals, leading to alignment issues; there are different parties involved, bringing up communication, collaboration challenges; there are diverse components blended in, raising quality or standardization concerns; there is information technology glued up, causing technical difficulties, etc. There are strategic risks and systemic risks, financial risks, operational risks, or regulation risks, etc. The efforts on managing risk holistically or in a more integrated fashion are critical in the long run.

The primary focus of the risk management in integration initiatives would be to identify and control those risks that can be addressed. One of the pitfalls is that the risk management system is detached from the integration management of the business. Estimating the threshold of loss potential vs. testing for capability of detection and response makes sense for managing risks in integration activities. In fact, it’s important to embed risk identification and assessment in relevant integration management processes, develop an effective risk management model for integrating all crucial elements such as processes, technologies, tools, talent, communication, culture, etc. to predict, manage, and measure risks, moving up from risk mitigation to risk intelligence.

How successful integration efforts are has to do with maturity of the organization. The beauty in running an informative and integral organization is in harmony, to ensure that the full business potential can be unleashed. It’s important to identify those key elements such as interdisciplinary expertise, dynamic goal-driven processes, the proven technologies, quality information, or a highly collaborative culture, that can make integration seamless and ensure organizational agility and effectiveness. Those organizations that have better integration maturity outperform their competitors and tend to be more responsive to increasing pace of changes and develop a cohesive set of business capabilities for accelerating performance.


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