5. Listen to the “Voice of the Process”
The role of the IT Business Analyst is to help his or her organization envision business processes and implement the best automation of those business processes using technology. This means that the business analyst is involved in a communication process that helps them to best understand business users, extract the “voice of the process” and clearly document current and future state processes in a way that demonstrates value. Listening to the voice of the process is essential in governance of a successful systems integration project. Use case diagrams and specifications help to document current and future state processes that are critical to project success and a reasonable setting of expectations.
6. Build monitoring and performance management into the project
Social, mobile and cloud computing are contributing to an explosion of business process related data and metadata. Along with fault-tolerance, resilience and elasticity, monitoring and performance management capabilities are an essential component of the integration platform supporting your system integration projects. A requirement for guaranteed message delivery makes integration monitoring vital. Integration monitoring tools provide IT managers with the ability to visualize and report on the performance of integration processes. It is in this dimension that successful governance of a systems integration “project” continues long after implementation.
7. Quantify the benefits
Understanding and justifying costs is essential to project success. Integration projects have ongoing maintenance costs, so it is essential to provide both an initial project cost-benefit analysis and to validate these assumptions following implementation. It will be easier to justify projects where infrastructure and labor costs are clearly controlled from the outset. Overly complex middleware involving multiple middleware layers can become extremely expensive. Look for a single-stack integration and mobile platform from which you can manage your project.
Even more important, look to your own business processes to justify value and show benefits. My work with a number of well-known brand name manufacturers in the sporting goods and apparel industry has shown me that IT projects can deliver almost instant ROI to an organization by opening up new sales channels while reducing infrastructure costs simultaneously.
Integration can bring significant value, and not necessarily where you expect; so rather than being concerned about the costs, think about the cost advantages you are missing. In creating business process models to document your enterprise patterns, flow diagrams are typically used to illustrate the basic steps of a business process. Most approaches to system integration focus on the logical steps in the business process but sometimes fail to analyze value. Value stream mapping allows you to document the business flow while at the same time taking time to annotate the added-value or cost inherent in each constituent step of a process.
Regardless of whether you decide to outsource your integration project or manage it yourself, these tips for successful governance of an IT project will help assure project success.
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