Establishing Integration Competency Center, part 1

Part 1: Goals and Right People

My approach to ICC is ‘hands-on’. To get your hands on to daily, weekly and monthly governance tasks you will need to identify those tasks and get right people to take responsibility of those task. But before we know what kind of people we need, we must have a clear ICC targets. Goals for ICC are like vision in a company: it is a picture of how we want to things in our perfect integration development, perfect deployment and perfect governance be. I suggest that ICC founders write goals down and review them constantly during ICC establishment phase. All things we design into ICC should serve our goals. If they don’t, scrap them. Good goals for ICC to think about are found in my previous article about Lean Integration and ICC.

After ICC’s goals are clear, the first step is to choose right people to right roles and make sure, that each role has a set of tasks and responsibilities. Tasks and responsibilities vary among different companies. In this post, I’ll use ICC Handbook roles as an example set of roles and tasks.

Depending on the size of your company, roles are manned with several persons or one person may carry on duties of several roles. Most of duties and tasks explained in following role descriptions are probably already done by someone in your organization – ICC will bring these someones together and make sure that no crucial task is forgotten.


ICC Director

ICC Director holds “political responsibility” of whole ICC. He or she is there eliminate any obstacles that ICC Manager or other roles within ICC might bump into. ICC Director manages budget of ICC and communicates with stakeholders like business unit directors and program managers.

In the end ICC director is responsible for whole ICC and its goals.

ICC Manager

ICC Manager is like a good scrum master or a project manager. He or she takes care of

  • Daily, weekly and monthly meetings and communications
  • Business backlog
  • Communications with integration vendors or internal integration developers
  • All integration work done by external or internal parties
  • Communications for other competency centers and system owners like ERPs and CRM teams

In middle-size and large enterprises, ICC Manager is a role that cannot be executed in addition to other duties.

Business Backlog is a backlog of user stories from Business people. ICC Manager uses ICC Business Analyst and Functional Designers to gather artifacts for developers. When a user story has artifacts and exception cases with it, it is prioritized and put to integration supplier’s development backlog. Integration supplier is an external party or group of internal developers. ICC Manager manages Business backlog and user stories sent to development backlog(s) of supplier(s).

Business Analyst

Business Analyst enriches ICC with knowledge of company processes. This role can be manned with different people in separate integration cases. The point is to understand the business process what we are tying together as a whole sequence of actions across parties involved to process. Good example is a person who understand needs of all parties in supply chain process of a retail company. It doesn’t matter what your area of business is, ICC must understand your business process to efficiently design an integration orchestration representing your business process.

Functional Designer

Functional Designer is a counterpart for Business Analyst. It is quite often that there are no Business Analysts available for constant ICC work. In these cases, a Functional Designer, who is usually more technically oriented yet have quite good understanding  of company’s business processes, takes. Major tasks for Functional Desiger

•Enrich user stories in Business Backlog with Artefacts -> Technical Backlog
•Walk through the processes with business people and real life samples
•Use checklists to ensure that artefacts are present
•Ensure that architectural requirements are taken into notice in technical backlog
Sample ICC Backlog Cycle

Sample ICC backlog Cycle

Production manager

Production manager participates to ICC work by managing Incident management and Problem solving processes. He or she is accountable that all integration environments including the most critical one – production – work seamlessly. Production Manager is also accountable for following processes and actions

  • Incident Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Deployment acceptance
  • Maintenance
  • Monitoring

ICC Architect

Last but not least comes ICC Architect. He or she defines which kind of patterns and practices best serve our ICC goals in terms of efficiency, re-usability and maintenance. His or Hers rules are taken into account every time Functional Designer transforms user story from Business Backlog to Technical Backlog. ICC Architect is responsible design patterns like SOA and design of re-usable components.

Place of ICC inside organization

ICC place in organization is between IT and Business. It should have members from both sides. If you are not planning to outsource your core business processes, keep at least ICC Director or ICC Manager manned with your own company’s people.

One thought on “Establishing Integration Competency Center, part 1

  1. Pingback: Establishing Integration Competency Center, part 4 | Integration War Stories

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