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Rakesh Mishra is a Senior Principal Consultant in business process management (BPM) and enterprise application integration (EAI) at Infosys Technologies with more 12 years of experience in integration strategies. Infosys in turn has a concept it calls Integration Competency Centers (ICC), and although you probably don't literally have an ICC unless you are an Infosys consulting client, you probably have some information technology (IT) folks in a pseudo-ICC (or at least one person...or at least a half a staffer).

Competency in integration is one of those functions you have to have on an IT staff even if you donít give it a name. And you are integrating constantly even if you have a completely homogenous IT infrastructure and don't think you are integrating. Although integration competency is not unique to BPM, you canít really be doing BPM unless you are doing something I would call competent integration.

I tell you this because on June 8 Rakesh posted up the fifth in a blog-post series he calls "What's Next" for Integration Competency Centers? Based on the totality of the series, Rakesh feels that most enterprises are still catching up to establish an operational integration capability and may not be thinking yet about "Whatís next?" But he believes that today's global economic dynamics (both the global aspect and the current economic factors implicit in that phrase) will make integration more important than ever in the next decade.

I agree. We're not returning to a monopolistic phone company, a choice of only three TV networks, and we're definitely not going back to defining tranquility as "baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet (sorry to readers for my U.S.-centric analogy)."

As of mid 2009 Rakesh sees the BPM integration function within IT organizations as mostly centralized and able to meet the scale and demand of business from an enterprise perspective. For the future he sees the following improvements:

1. Ease of integration/BPM execution and management to go with today's centralization and scale. He says these capabilities "will transform the role of 'change' from 'threat' to 'opportunity.'"

2. Collaboration across stakeholders such as the people in the business units; in other words, more distribution of integration/BPM capabilities without losing centralized control. To me, this is the core of BPM although if your business or organization is small enough you can tie yourself totally to QuickBooks, but not if you also want to have a web site and do email and...have customers (who are not homogenous with you unless they all also have QuickBooks).


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