What Integration Competency Centers Do and How to Fund Them

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Integration competency centers are not new. According to this blog post by analyst firm OnStrategies, ICCs trace back to at least 2002, originating with Gartner. Then, in 2005, Integration Consortium head John Schmidt and David Lyle co-authored "Integration Competency Center: An Implementation Methodology"- which is soon going to be updated.

Schmidt is still the chair of the Integration Consortium, but he's also signed on with Informatica, where he's the vice president of Global Integration Service. And, frankly, Informatica and Schmidt seem to be singlehandedly pushing ICCs back into the spotlight lately, what with the recent survey showing how ICCs can save time and money, a just published updated edition of a white paper on "The Economics of Integration Competency Centers," and this discussion about -- what else? - ICCs between Schmidt and Beth Gold-Bernstein, ebizQ's vice president of strategic services.

All of which is good news for you, because it adds up to a lot of free and useful information about ICCs. Between the white paper and Gold-Bernstein's piece, you can learn:

  • What ICCs are supposed to do, including what problems they solve.
  • The five types of ICCs.
  • How to fund an ICC, despite the political issues.

The ebizQ article primarily focuses on the seven core responsibilities of an ICC. In brief, they are:

  1. Financial management of integration
  2. Information architecture -- but not enterprise architecture
  3. Business process management, though Gold-Bernstein cautions that doesn't mean "BPM per se," but does mean service flow modeling, information flows, business event modeling, and common definition of business events
  4. Integration methodology
  5. Metadata management
  6. Modeling management
  7. Integration systems

For SOA addicts out there, don't worry -- Gold-Bernstein's got you covered. She confesses she's started dropping the "Integration" in ICC, opting to say "Competency Center for SOA initiatives," because she figured "integration efforts are now being subsumed as a part of SOA, or as an enabler to SOA - but becoming less of a separate initiative."


Schmidt begs to differ, but as Gold-Bernstein walks us through his explanation of the seven core competencies of an ICC, she relates it all back to SOA.


Oh, SOA -- is there nothing you can't do?


The white paper goes into more depth about the five types of ICCs, including the benefits of each type. You'll be happy to learn that there's a type to fit most organizational sizes and commitment levels, although, obviously, if your organization is very small, you may not even need an ICC.


It also looks at some of the obstacles to creating and maintaining an ICC, including finding funding and creating the political will needed to create a useful ICC. It also includes four supporting case studies.


The white paper is free, but you'll need to provide the usual registration information. If you don't have time to read the 28 pages, you could read this synopsis - with commentary - posted at OnStrategies Perspectives blog.


So, there you have it: free online answers to the how, when, where and why of starting your own integration competency center.