How an Integration Center of Excellence Can Save your Analytics Program

News

News

July 26, 2017

How an Integration Center of Excellence Can Save your Analytics Program

With the growing need for data analytics, it’s not uncommon for a single organization to have multiple analytics projects occurring simultaneously. These projects are important—they’re solving business problems and helping organizations make data-driven decisions. But the surge in analytics projects can also cause functional issues within an organization, including.

  • Duplication of tasks
  • Multiple execution of same process(es) to serve different projects
  • Multiple requests to perform the same job
  • Surplus resources

All of these functional issues can result in increased costs and dissatisfaction among both internal and external stakeholders.

So, how can we connect these discrete projects seamlessly? What are the techniques to successfully drive these individual systems together? The answer is an Integration Competency Center (ICC).

From an organizational perspective, an ICC is a group of people with special skills who are centrally coordinated and offer services to accomplish a mission that requires separate functional areas to work together. In other words, an ICC is a set of processes that helps combine all individual elements of an organization into one big picture, driving them together towards success and growth.

Popularized by Roy Schulte from Gartner, the concept of an ICC as a competency in the IT domain has now survived for over 10 years and appears to be picking up momentum and broad-based acceptance.

With the establishment of an ICC, organizations can optimize scarce resources, reduce project efforts and costs, improve ROI through reusability, decrease duplication, and leverage past successes for future projects.

Though having an ICC has numerous advantages, establishing one within a matured IT department with many active projects could be challenging. There are a number of potential hurdles: securing buy-in from the management and employee union, upfront costs, and overcoming resistance to new processes, to adaptability to the new processes and support from all the corners.

Although there will be challenges even for an ICC in an immature IT setting, it would be much easier. Regardless of the age of an organization, an ICC does require some upfront effort, but the demands dramatically decrease over time.

ICCs might still be relatively new to government organizations, but in view of their enormous number of projects and customers, it is very critical to truly consider this initially demanding yet powerful mechanism to sustain long-term success.

Case Study – An Early Example of a Center of Excellence

ICCs have made a significant impact for a number of businesses and agencies. Take, for example, Qualcomm’s 2009 implementation of an ICC in combination with the Informatica platform. David Bonner, Technical Lead at Qualcomm, reported tremendous results: “Our Integration Competency Center with the Informatica platform as its foundation has become a strategic resource. Across each of the business units, the ICC and Informatica are helping to reduce data integration time by up to 70 percent. That makes a huge difference right across the business: from how quickly we make decisions, to how fast R&D can develop new solutions, to how quickly we respond to our customers’ needs.”