Wednesday 30 November 2011

Integration is the new Operation - this decade and next

I gave a presentation the other day that is a very short version of my Integration book. As usual, that forced me to compact thoughts and ideas, and craft a new visual - see above.
I've used that already in a post the other day, but that didn't pay proper attention to it

I'm a bit tired of all the use of the word integrated and integration over the last few weeks and months. I would like to say: "You keep using that word. I think it does not mean what you think it means"

Social Media and integration. Integration microblogging into the workspace. Social network integrating. Integrating social media in PR. Integrating Social Media and email.
Countless examples of where Integration means nothing more than combination, mixture or merely just use

It drives me mad, sometimes. What do I mean by Integration? Connecting disparate Information Systems across application-external communication channels via messages

So using email as well as social media in a marketing campaign does not qualify as Integration.
Neither does putting Twitter and Facebook buttons on your site.
Nor is integration of social tools into the collaborative workflow Integration: you can't integrate something into thin air

The hard part about integration is that you have two parties: the incumbent and the new-kid-on-the-block. Both want the other to adopt their ways, so they can get along. Sometimes this leads to a stalemate, sometimes this leads to something (being terribly vague on purpose here).
So we had E20 and the enterprise - nothing moved. Then we had Social Enterprise and Culture - nothing there either. Now we have Social Business and Integration - and you know what that outcome will be

"If only" is the mantra we hum all our lives. If only people would be nicer, if only they would understand us, if only they...
Philosophically speaking, that's relying on others to address your issues. Know that, when they do, you rely on them for the full 100%. Integrating Twitter into e.g. SAP by using an SAP solution? Guess what flavour that will have, what the time-to-market will be, and the cost. And dependent on whom that will make you (thank you Yoda)
Buying a Social tool that does integrate with SAP already? Guess what flavour that will have, what the time-to-market will be, and the cost - and that it will not change the fact that you are locked-in, only the locking party itself

Integration - it's never been core business. Even if you are a genuine B2B company and fully depend on 24/7 integration to be 100% foolproof, still, it's not core business - although extremely business critical

Well, let me tell you: Integration will make the difference for most businesses in this decade and next. In fact, it already is. Name me one SaaS offering that doesn't allow you to get data in or out in bulk, bypassing the user. has gone through considerable efforts to achieve this, and throttling size and numbers of data "bypassed" is even part of their license model

So, read my lips: "Now new Integration" - and we are not going to make the old one just bigger. We need a fundamentally different approach, where neither the incumbent nor the new-kid-on-the-block is leading, let alone in charge. We need a third party, an innocent bystander, one who is objective, who specialises in Integration.
Integration was a profession in the last century, and for good reasons. Interpreters in the European Parliament ensure that 750 members speak 23 different languages and perfectly understand one another without ever having had to speak anything else but their native tongue

Big Data will be a good driver here, next to Cloud and Social. All fair and square that doing BI in-memory will give you tremendous advantage over the competition, but not if it takes you the old-fashioned days, weeks or even months to gather the data in the first place

So look at the Big Picture. Integration is the new Operation, and I wouldn't be surprised if there will be Chief Integration Officers in the very near future, even if it's just to get back on track. We people all integrate rather easily with Cloud and Social, and now we are being slowed down by machines and applications, on our way to the next level: customers and colleagues

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