Why do you need an integration framework?
The purpose of an integration framework is to clearly describe how the organization uses integration to achieve its business goals, and to define the boundaries of current and future projects. Without a framework, you can get stuck with a large number of inconsistent solutions that do not work well together.
When we work with customers to establish an integration strategy, we usually start out from the following basic principles:
- Allow for gradual “ad-hoc” implementation of integration solutions. It should be possible to start in a small scale and expand the solution over time. Don’t try to do everything at once!
- Promote the development of an architecture based on “loosely-coupled” components.
- Create a flexible infrastructure where the information flows can be adapted to the current business demands. No company should have to give up business opportunities because of rigid systems and applications.
- Data should only have to be entered once. You should never have to enter the same data in two places. Data is always edited exclusively in the source system, and should be made available to all services or functions that needs it.
The guidelines should describe how your solutions are documented, how changes are handled, which naming conventions to use etc.
The Integration Competence Center (ICC) is made up of internal as well as external (e.g. iCore consultants) key people, responsible for implementing the integration strategy, maintaining and monitoring existing solutions and developing new solutions in line with the integration strategy and business goals. Having an ICC in place is a basic condition for performing regular evaluations of the “integration environment” at the company, avoiding technical debt and making sure that existing integration components are re-used in an optimal way.