Everyone in IT has an integration horror story. I even avoid the term ‘middleware’ these days, not because it’s intrinsically evil, but because its history is littered with failed implementations that never lived up to the hype.
But why is this? Was the technology rubbish? Is middleware inherently unreliable? Does the cost-benefit equation simply not add up?
No. Not at all.
The truth is that the basic principles and patterns of good integration have been well documented for a long time (see Hohpe & Wolfe, and the corresponding service design patterns) and solid enterprise middleware platforms have been around just as long. The issue is that organisation after organisation has made the same mistake: they focussed only on the technology and not on the people and processes that surround it.
Integration was for a long time seen as a very technical engineroom operation and as a result organisations didn’t focus on delivering effective, holistic integration capabilities that were designed to meet their business needs. Left to their own devices, the engineers built things that they thought were right, but didn’t focus on driving maximum business value out of the assets they were using or creating.
So, the Integration Strategy is your opportunity to reset this balance and focus on the ‘whole patient’ – building an integration capability that is not just technology – but people and processes as well.