Boomi Reinvents the Integration Center of Excellence for Digital Enterprises

February 24, 2020 Mark Clifton

Today Boomi announced a new professional service: helping to build integration centers of excellence (ICoEs) for the digital enterprise.

Our team of integration experts and enterprise architects will work with a company’s IT and business leaders to assess the company’s integration maturity, discover its goals for integration capabilities, and put together a detailed plan for advancing the practice of integration across the organization to help the company achieve its business, technical, and operational goals.

Key to achieving those goals is establishing an ICoE made up of experts in integration, data governance, data security, and enterprise architecture to ensure that integrations are built right, and built quickly — every time.

The idea of an ICoE isn’t new. What's new is the model for an ICoE that Boomi is introducing. In this post, I’ll share what it means to establish an ICoE, why older models for ICoEs fell short, and why our new ICoE service is so critically important to enterprises interested in digital transformation.

An ICoE is a cross-departmental team that applies its expertise to the practice of building and managing integrations.

The Evolution of ICoEs

An ICoE is a cross-departmental team that applies its expertise to the practice of building and managing integrations. In a data-centric world, integration is a critical capability. It’s the connection between any data sources, delivering data in the right form to whatever person, device, or application needs it.

Done right, integration accelerates operations and supports innovation. Done poorly, it turns IT teams into tinkers and repairmen forever patching old, poorly conceived integrations instead of building new products and services.

Unfortunately, for the majority of enterprises today, integration is not done well enough. Analysts tell us that as much as 20 to 50 percent of IT budgets end up going to old integrations for old technologies — a conglomeration of one-off data connections built haphazardly to meet short-term deadlines.

These old, ad hoc integrations impose a financial and operational burden on companies. This burden is especially onerous now that business units are looking to IT organizations for guidance on innovation and product ideas.

For an IT team, innovating with new technologies like AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) while devoting time and money to old integrations is like being asked to step outside to run a 10K, while keeping an eye on pipes leaking in the basement.

These pipes might well have been put in place by an earlier iteration of an ICoE. Fifteen years ago, an ICoE might have brought in consultants and development teams with the idea of modernizing applications and the connections between them.

In the era of Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), these well-meaning developers probably hand-coded point-to-point connections. Development was still managed through waterfall development processes, building and releasing code one multi-month step at a time. Coding was slow and specialized, and most application and data repositories were still on-premises.

Adopting that model of resource-intensive development today is a recipe for technical obsolescence.

Want to find out if you could benefit from an ICoE? Learn more here

An ICoE for Today's Fast-Moving Digital Enterprise

The ICoE that Boomi is helping enterprises build today is a radically different sort of organization.

For one thing, it takes advantage of new technologies whenever possible, using a low-code development environment to build reusable components that can be combined and configured even by business users. And the new ICoE is building a library of these components that within a matter of months can replace as much as 80 percent of the custom work required for new integrations.

Integrations today need to account for more data sources than ever before, including sources that are on-premises, in the cloud, in a multi-cloud environment, or distributed across IoT devices. And integration needs to deliver data securely to people, devices, and applications, taking into account data governance, data security, and data privacy requirements.

The most innovative companies today have replaced top-down, command-and-control management hierarchies with flatter management structures that empower business units and subject matter experts across the organization.

In these flatter organizations, business users can more easily contribute ideas for improving products, services, and internal process. When feasible, these IT-savvy business users can even take a hand in development.

Today’s ICoE must be built with that more community-focused approach to development in mind. The SOA-era ICoE couldn’t imagine a “citizen integrator.” Today’s ICoE falls short if it doesn’t empower citizen integrators with the most powerful, comprehensive tools available.

To learn more about integration centers of excellence from industry experts like Deloitte Digital, TechStone Technology Partners, and Boomi’s own integration experts, read our ebook on creating an ICoE for digital success.

The Boomi ICoE Methodology

To help organizations build a thriving, agile, collaborative ICoE, we’ve developed a five-step methodology that we’ve road-tested with some of the largest enterprises in the world.

Today our Professional Services consultants are applying this methodology to help organizations build ICoEs that meet their particular business and operational goals.

Our ICoE is proven, but it's flexible, too. Depending on a customer’s goals and integration maturity, we’ll recommend one of four different models for an ICoE engagement:

  • Best Practices: Boomi develops an integration maturity diagnostic and provides training on relevant best practices.
  • Guardrail: In addition to guidelines, Boomi audits integrations, reviews architectures, and helps develop an architecture framework.
  • Shared Services: Providing a deeper level of engagement, Boomi helps train personnel for change management, integration, project management, release management, standards, and other key roles related to the ICoE's mission. The scope of the ICoE expands to include Finance Management, Program Management, Enterprise Architecture, and SLA Management.
  • Central Services: Further expanding the scope of engagement, the Shared Services model creates an ICoE that handles security management, change management, capacity management, help desk support, service continuity, and data administration.

The Benefits of Creating an ICoE

By creating an ICoE, an enterprise can realize a long list of benefits, including:

  • Faster development of integrations
  • Increased IT productivity
  • Higher quality code
  • Increased innovation from a broader community of experts
  • Increased operational agility
  • Reduced IT costs
  • Simplified regulatory compliance with guidelines for data security, data privacy, and other data-centric requirements

Read our ICoE service brief to find out how Boomi can help drive fast, efficient integration across your organization. 

To learn more about integration centers of excellence from industry experts like Deloitte Digital, TechStone Technology Partners, and Boomi’s own integration experts, read our ebook on creating an ICoE for digital success.

About the Author

Mark Clifton is Boomi's chief enterprise architect. He leads and coordinates all aspects of Boomi's enterprise architecture (EA) professional services, including business, information, solution, and technical architectures to help customers accelerate digital transformation.

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