Degrees of IntegrationPosted: March 29, 2011
In a previous article I wrote about ecosystem value. In that article I stated that the highest degree of ecosystem value is when a product has foundational integration with the alpha vendor’s product stack. In the case of the Microsoft ecosystem this would mean Dynamics, SharePoint and/or Office.
This article opens up what is meant by integration. The same way that some think having their solution virtually hosted makes them a cloud solution, some think that embedding a web part makes them integrated.
To embed means to ‘insert’ into a whole, where as to integrate means to ‘incorporate’ into a whole.
Logical integration to me means that a set of independent solutions cover a whole problem area. There might even be a unified dashboard or integrated reporting, but there is no functional integration. A web part could be also a compilation of dashboard elements to form a unified view, but at best the web parts could be functional elements. The key to work flow integration is data synchronization/sharing across a seamless workflow.
The past decade has been about enterprise integration. I believe that the next decade will be about enterprise data integration and that can only be achieved through true integration.