Can you architect your way from sluggishness to speed?

Infrastructure complexity and poor coordination across teams are slowing some IT functions to a crawl. Enterprise architects should consider Lean Integration as a framework to architect for speed and agility while minimizing waste.


Lean Integration supplies a factory-like framework to transition toward a next phase of data integration maturity that’s faster, better and cheaper.

In 2008, IT professionals participating in TDWI’s annual BI benchmark study reported that it took their teams an average of seven weeks to add a new data source to a warehouse. By 2012, the time required had risen to nine weeks.

Similarly, the 4.7 weeks it took to change a warehouse hierarchy in 2008 increased to seven weeks by 2012. What happened? Is IT getting slower—even as the business demands greater speed and agility?

Infrastructure complexity and lack of coordination among siloed teams is grinding some IT functions to a crawl. Maintenance costs rise as enterprise architects and developers labor with hand-coding to add more point-to-point interfaces to a colossal integration hairball. It’s not uncommon for more than 50 percent of an IT budget to be devoted to integration.

A lot of those resources are effectively wasted. That’s not because enterprise architects and other IT professionals aren’t doing a good job with status quo processes and tools. It’s because next-generation approaches to integration can root out waste and transform the sluggish status quo into fast, responsive and agile processes.

A Factory-Like Approach to Integration

Derived from the Toyota Production System for automobile manufacturing,  Lean Integration  introduces a factory-like approach to data quality and integration. It supplies an organizational and technological framework for your organization to transform toward a next phase of data integration maturity that's faster, better and cheaper than 20 years ago... and today . See Figure 1. 

Figure 1: Increase operational efficiency by evolving your data integration maturity from hand coding to an integration factory platform.

A book by Informatica’s John Schmidt and David Lyle, Lean Integration: An Integration Factory Approach to Business Agility, examines the principles and architecture behind Lean Integration. A key takeaway for enterprise architects is to involve the business early and often—document waste and business impact, blueprint the solution and get buy-in to transition towards a next-generation model that improves agility by streamlining data processes.

Ideally supported by an Integration Competency Center, Lean Integration is based on several key principles:

  • Eliminate waste of time, money and resources by removing redundant efforts and rework, and streamlining the process to minimize scheduling and approval delays
  • Automate processes with a systematic approach using reusable templates and components and automated workflow
  • Build quality in such as automated data profiling early in the requirements phase rather than discovering data issues during testing
  • Drive continuous improvement with visual metadata management, data quality scorecards and tighter business-IT collaboration
  • Empower the team with self-service capabilities and role-based tools for non-technical business analysts and data stewards
  • Plan for change with a data virtualization layer and logical data objects that can be reused without disrupting underlying systems

At www.integrationfactory.com, you’ll find a case study of how a global consumer products company adopting Lean Integration saved more than $8 million in the first year alone, including $2.6 million from standardization on an integration platform, $3 million in shared code components, architecture and design, $2 million from hardware consolidation and $500,000 in shared education and training. Lean Integration isn’t some faraway vision. It’s a proven approach that’s delivering dividends today.

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