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It is no secret that the world has had a challenging year. Big events of all types have been put on hold: vacations, weddings, even large-scale digital transformations. And with uncertainty seeping into 2021, it’s unclear when these projects will be back on track. Sometimes we have to make the best with what we’ve got, like Julie Andrews using her drapes to fashion play clothes for the von Trapp children or (re)discovering all the local wonders during lockdown. How romantic!

But what if you’re a company that was already feeling the pressure from the hastening pace of business that was accelerated a thousand-fold by the pandemic? Today’s digital world is placing demands on organizations to respond more quickly, act more nimbly, and pivot to new business models at a rapid pace. If an overhaul of your IT landscape is out of the question, what can you do?

If your goal is to achieve a more agile, responsive organization, a recent ASUG study suggests that making integration a strategic imperative is a good place to start. And we’re not talking about the stylish symbol (∫) you used in Calculus 101. By connecting existing data, processes, and applications you can build a foundation that unlocks agility and allows you to move quickly when responding to the next change in market conditions. Integration is a tool that enables organizations to be nimble and proactive when things change rather than flat-footed and reactive.

“Integration sounds great!” I hear you saying. Well, as with any IT project it’s easier said than done. There are significant challenges that may arise, though they can (and should!) be overcome according to a whitepaper authored by integration experts at Deloitte and SAP. One of the biggest challenges is companies think they already have an integration program, but yesterday’s established methods cannot keep up with the explosion of technological complexity. Organizations are frequently tooled for problems of the past, so a survey of the IT landscape is a good place to start. Once you have the lay of the land, SAP and Deloitte have outlined 5 Key Imperatives to keep in mind during your integration journey:

  1. A Platform Approach

  2. Agility and Scalability

  3. Integration Democratization

  4. Smart Lifecycle Management

  5. Analytics and Predictive

Woah! That's a big list. Good thing the key imperatives can be applied to integration projects of any size, shape, and scale. And for those companies hit hard by the pandemic, rest assured that these methods can be applied quickly. Integration projects don’t need to be massive, multi-year undertakings to drive value and increase agility for your organization. Sometimes we must make the best with what we’ve got right?

As is often the case, the people behind the change are more important than any technology employed. And no one is more important than your executive sponsor. Ideally you’ll have someone from the C-suite to oversee the establishment of an integration centre of excellence and be a champion of change. Which C-suite officer you ask? Well, three years ago, the now-commonplace Chief Data Officer (CDO) role was virtually unheard of. Could a Chief Integration Officer, or CINTO, be next?

The evidence clearly shows that treating integration as a strategic imperative is a path towards a more agile, responsive organization capable of tackling the challenges of our modern times. Luckily, the experts from Deloitte and SAP have laid out the key imperatives to consider. Tune in to hear these experts explain their integration takes and give real-world examples on LinkedIn.

So, where are you in your integration journey? Share your story in the comments below or on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to check out the Deloitte + SAP whitepaper, the Integration blog series, and the ASUG survey as well.