Archive for August 5th, 2010

Integration is so easy, IT can’t do it!

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

I stumbled across Mike Vizard’s post, Managing Borderless Applications.  Mike’s contention is that IT is facing a support headache caused by integration that they don’t know about.  Integration carried out by business users using web based tools integrating web based applications.  Integrations and automations that will ultimately become mission critical, and then break, at which point the business will stare over at IT and ask for help.  And, as web apps race for ubiquity, this problem will inevitably increase.

It is an interesting conundrum that we spent a lot of time thinking about at Blue Prism.  The reason business users run off and do their own integration, is because IT takes too long to deliver in the context of the speed of business today. So the business gets its solution quickly, but this type of end user computing carries a high risk of failure in the medium term due to lack of documentation, security, maintenance and support.

We realised that end-user integration and process automation, whilst technically possible, needs controlling.  The trick is to find the balance between IT discipline and user freedom and flexibility.

We found that this works best if IT sets out a corridor of governance within which the business users can operate.  Some of the components of this approach need to be built into the integration/automation technology.  Some need to come from a new “light touch” governance methodology that both IT and the business subscribe to.

The business gets an agile response to rapidly changing business requirements, but IT knows about the computing initiatives and helps the business to deliver them within a supported environment.

Not easy to resolve, but worth the effort for the competitive advantage that comes from agile operations.