Business integration encompasses information architecture, data management and integration, application integration, database management, and technologies that make these goals possible enterprise-wide to achieve a smoothly functioning IT foundation for all business activities. The challenges that IT deal with can be many a merger, legacy technologies, upgrades etc. to support the Core business functions.
Time taken to resume business as usual remains the critical aspect of any integration project that a business undertakes thus; This critical aspect from an integration consultant perspective creates a challenge;
In a recently held workshop to understand the challenges centered on Integration content, the participants, interviewed representatives from different business functions, to understand the challenges/issues covering various aspects of Integration. During the synthesis of the results some keywords representing the challenges bubbled up
Content Discovery, Re-usability, CoE, Repository, Content, Functional Consultant, Communities, Business Manager, Governance, Solution Architect, Content Developer, Message Flow, Public Catalogue
Content : the first challenge of a consultant in an integration project with stringent timelines is to get the first message flow from a source system to a target system; The challenge many a times is not just the technical complexity but finding the right resources/references to make this happen; Content also has to address concerns of the stakeholders involved during the entire lifecycle. i.e. Partner Business Manager’s discussions with IT heads addressing concerns around best practices; business references of past projects executed well; articulation and understanding of challenges;
Discovery : In line with the point mentioned above Content Discovery becomes the single biggest challenge; discovering content appropriate for the context addressing the industry, systems, application issues during the integration project; Content discovery is critical to the degree that partners and consulting units have their own CoE’s to discover, manage and monitor content for consulting projects under execution.
Public Catalogue : the idea of a public catalogue with content subject to security, payment, offered by SAP to its partners; This is a high interest item in the list of expectations from SAP, this provides a very good marketing platform for SAP partners who are keen to showcase their content and also with User Management capabilities move to the marketplace than rely completely on their internal CoE’s to do the same for them. There are open questions on where the actual content will be listed for downloads, how are payments managed ? etc.
SAP Customers though did not express much interest in selling content on the marketplace as their primary concern is to get the business integration running than actually sell content.
The threads emerging above represent only some of the fundamental issues that require addressing in a holistic manner and provide glimpses of how the solution (which is currently in the works) would evolve for details visit https://cloudintegration.hana.ondemand.com
In the coming posts I continue to elaborate on the related aspects and discuss the contours of the solution that emerges …