By Jordy Mugeni
Integration in a very simplistic way refers to two different entities in the same or different geographical, physical locations exchanging messages, information, cultures, inventions, goods, experiences, knowledge; those entities could be people, group of people, families, nations, shared resources, processes, systems, and applications. Let us call that process communication.
In principle, all you need in order to communicate between two entities are the following things:
- A readable message or payload to be sent to the receiver that the receiver can decode and understand upon receiving it.
- A mode of transport used to send the message to the intended receiver. The transport would vary based on the location of the receiver, the nature of the message etc.
Once those two points are established, it is pretty much free for all. Anyone can communicate with anyone as they please and life goes on …
Reality is that we are living in a world that has limited resources, free for all will certainly lead to high resource wastage, high cost on infrastructure, low levels of reusability, challenge on managing security needs, priority challenges.
How do you efficiently manage the shared infrastructure? How do you ensure that an entity has access to the right infrastructure and shared service (resources) without negatively affecting the other entities communication needs?
If you ask me, it all sounds like politics 🙂 or is it?
This is exactly what an Integration architect has to answer every day in the context of a corporate and business environment.
In today’s highly integrated world, where companies are constantly exchanging information, data and process with all the other companies in their value chain (B2B) using various transport and technologies such as web-services, managing file transfer technologies and more, not to mention the API economy has also opened up new ways of integrating with businesses directly with the consumers through Mobile Applications and paying sites and games; An Integration architect is more than indispensable.
An integration architect should have the view of all system capabilities available in the organization, all shared capabilities such business processes, business services (business rules), data services, connectivity services, he has the understanding of the policies used by the organization to govern the usage of the shared resources as well as the building of any new shared capabilities. He is crucial in setting up management, monitoring and security frameworks around the shared services and resources.
He knows all the relationships between entities, shared services and infrastructure used. He should be able to work with numerous business, solutions, application, security, infrastructure and enterprises architects to advise them about a better way of reusing shared services into their solutions and applications to save cost and decrease time to market.
An Integration architect has to be in tune with the organization strategy at all times, he has to know how to leverage the resources available and influence the building of new ones.
In short you need an integration Architect 🙂