The Management Problems of Too-Easy Integration

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Almost daily, I share stories about the troubles and tribulations caused by integration.There's just no shortage of examples of business strategies thwarted, business processes stalled and business opportunities missed because of poor or non-existent integration among silos.


With so many integration-related problems to consider, I never took time to contemplate the problems of easy integration. I mean, it's like worrying about how to handle a flying car traffic jam-why bother?


But that's exactly what's on the mind of Mike Vizard, a blogger at IT Business Edge and head of our site CTO Edge.


Vizard looked at the problems of managing borderless applications this week at CTO Edge. He points out that Web applications are becoming more common and easier to integrate with the than ever before-so much so, they're often integrated without consulting IT. Managing all these apps is often beyond the scope of IT, he writes, which means this could become the next great IT challenge.


This post is actually a followup to a piece he wrote for IT Business Edge on borderless apps, where he explains in more detail why borderless apps are becoming a trend. As with all things, borderless apps have their pros and cons:

The rise of these new borderless Web applications will present some interesting security and data-management challenges. But what was once a relatively simple mashup concept involving the sharing of data between two applications rapidly is becoming a never-ending series of composite applications that are always connected. From an end user perspective, this capability presents all kinds of possibilities for mass customization as part of the general trend toward the consumerization of IT. From an IT manager's perspective, however, mass customization currently equals mass confusion.

Of course, as DevCentral blogger Lori MacVittie points out in a recent post, just because you've integrated the interface doesn't mean you've solved all your interoperability problems:

Having an API is important. It's what makes integration of applications, infrastructure, and ultimately clouds possible. But it isn't the definition of that interface across disparate implementations of similar technology that will make or break intercloud. What will make or break intercloud is the definition of a consistent semantic model for core services and components that can be used to describe the technologies and policies and meta-data necessary to enable interoperability.

Still, Vizard has hit upon an unusual issue here, and he's the only one I've seen write about the problems of easily integrated Web applications. It's certainly an interesting trend observation that I'd like to see explored more widely.