Integration and Alignment: Inseparable?

Loraine Lawson

Effective technology departments focus heavily on integration technologies and standards, according to researchers at Ovum Summit, a Boston-based consulting firm.

The group interviewed 300 IT managers and identified six practices used at the most effective IT departments. Though this Baseline article emphasizes IT/business alignment, keep reading.

The remaining recommendations are more focused on enterprise integration tools, including adoption of SOA, consolidation, virtualization and ITIL standards.

What's particularly interesting about Ovum's report are the statistics. Last year, a mere 27 percent reported using SOA. Now, that number is 42 percent. Here are a few more noteworthy integration-related statistics from the article:

  • Forty-seven percent reported consolidating application or storage servers in their firm's data centers last year. This year, 75 percent reported consolidation in data centers.
  • Last year, only 32 percent of IT managers were using virtualization. This year, 55 percent reported using virtualization, with another 26 percent planning to adopt virtualization in the long term.


The survey also found successful IT divisions are moving to ITIL standards and experimenting with Web 2.0 technologies, such as wikis.


The article's focus on IT/business alignment did make me wonder: Can you really achieve alignment without enterprise-wide integration? Ultimately, I'm arguing no. After all, business needs will always transcend system divides. So, until your systems can function together across silos, how could the technology fully address the demands of the business?


I suppose you could do integration without addressing IT/business alignment, but who in their right mind would want to?

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 4, 2007 7:24 AM Mika Mika  says:
Ross, Weill, and Robertson also made this conclusion in their book "Enterprise Architecture as a Strategy", which was based on similar research. Recommend reading. :)I also have to agree integration and standardization are both very important especially in big organizations - otherwise there will be business silos in which the working practices are not standardized, and a common source for data does not exists.The big question however is that how much integration and standardization you need? Even though there are clear benefits of both, paradoxically for example enterprise-wide standardization limits local flexibility. On the other hand data integration tend to be very expensive etc. Reply

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