Last week, I questioned whether integration could be considered a strategic issue or whether it is essentially tactical. In weighing the value of integration as a "big picture" discipline, I referenced a recent blog post by John Schmidt of Informatica, in which Schmidt argues that having an integration strategy could give companies a competitive advantage.
This week, Schmidt responded. Normally, I don't like to do too much "he said, and then I said, and then he said" -- even though that's what blogs seem to do best -- but I think Schmidt's update sheds new light on how integration became so complex and why it is such a critical issue for companies. He also expands the case for Integration Competency Centers.
Schmidt begins by pointing out that, 20 years ago, integration could be handled without the oversight of an ICC. Since then, organizations and information has evolved in three key ways that require large organizations to adopt ICCs, he explained:
Schmidt calls this a shift from micro-integration to macro-integration:
"We could say that projects require micro-integration techniques while the complex systems-of-systems that emerge over time at the enterprise and supply chain scale require macro-integration best practices such as Integration Competency Centers. The ICC disciplines are a powerful capability, but they are non-trivial and hence those organizations that do it better than others will have a competitive advantage."
Certainly, I can see how tackling these sort of complexities could give Fortune 500 companies an edge. But I'm still on the fence when it comes to the strategic value of integration in laggard organizations that stick to a more sedentary technology adoption pace. Perhaps, as Todd Biske argued last week, ICCs aren't widely adopted because many mid- and even large-sized businesses don't really have that many systems involved in their integration challenges.