Enabling a Practice of Empowerment

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of integration roles, integration governance and integration assurance

Practice of Empowerment

The last phase, "Enable a Practice of Empowerment", focuses on the organizational dimension of enterprise integration to empower yourself. This should be achieved by:

  • Establishing integration as a recognized discipline and knowledge sharing culture (best practices).
  • Positioning integration as a strategic differentiator.
  • Providing a holistic view on integration.
  • Establishing knowledge sharing culture (best practices).
  • Improve communication between teams.

SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology can help you to reach those goals. The framework describes one sample approach, as follows:

  1. Set up the organizational structure (Define and introduce integration roles and set up an Integration Center of Excellence).
  2. Establish integration governance.
  3. Implement integration quality assurance.

Identify Different Integration Roles

When it comes to integration, the exchange and collaboration of different colleagues with each other plays an important role. Different teams need to work together to define the scope, as well as to implement and run the integration smoothly. For example, the Enterprise Architect helps with the definition, the communication, and the continuous improvement of the evaluation of a new integration reference architecture, while the Application Developer takes over the provisioning of customer-specific APIs. All in all, each role plays an important part in making the integration a success.

The SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology includes frequently used integration roles in organizations, together with their typical responsibilities and some sample activities in the context of SAP. The concrete definition of integration roles depends on your specific customer context. You can use the outlined integration roles as a starting point and adapt/extend them to your specific needs. These roles can help you to establish an integration competency center within your organization and derive areas for self-service integration, for example, simple integration tasks covered by citizen integrators.

The following figures outline the different roles:

The Need of Integration Governance and Integration Assurance

Discover the Functions of the Integration Center of Excellence

Besides the integration roles, another organizational aspect that has to be considered if you want to implement integration in your company are the integration entities. In today's organization, there are many different entities, for example, integration development teams, integration quality assurance teams, and so on. The challenge is to bring all these entities under one umbrella and establish a so-called Integration Center of Excellence. This means a central team that takes care of the definition of the integration guidelines and also takes care of the adoption of the integration guidelines, as well as monitoring the guidelines being adhered. It doesn’t matter how you name such a Center of Excellence, it is more important to clarify the responsibilities and characteristics. If needed, it is also possible to involve experts from other units, for example, for designing and defining integration best practices and integration guidelines. In addition to that, a Center of Excellence looks at integration from a holistic perspective. For larger projects and integration demands, different kinds of integration technologies are available, which are needed to fulfill the integration requirements. The Center of Excellence also has a more integration-coaching position instead of being heavily involved in the integration development. In this way, the team members of the Center of Excellence support the integration developers and provide them with everything they need to properly develop and map the integration scenarios based on the verified standards. With such an agile and decentral integration development approach, it is possible to better scale the rising requirements by shifting from a traditional Integration Competence Center towards an Integration Center of Excellence (ICoE).

Integration means more than connecting different applications along end-to-end business processes. It is an approach to open innovation. Therefore, an Integration Center of Excellence has many integration touchpoints, and it also supports business users, developer experts, executive managers, and data analyst in their daily business.

The Integration Center of Excellence can, for example, grant access via self-service to data analysts to retrieve the required information from all data sources. Real-time synchronization provides dynamic access to data for business users, developer experts, executive managers, and data analysts. Short-term support can be provided to them by the virtual community. Furthermore, the Integration Center of Excellence helps to ensure insights into data so that executives and data analysts can make important decisions.

With that, the teams provide different ways to all these data sources, enabling a company to unlock the full potential by getting the data across the enterprise.

Implement Integration Governance and Quality Assurance

To enable a practice of empowerment, working processes shouldn’t be missing. Before you start to define the right processes to ensure integration governance and quality assurance, you should define the right integration strategy and guidelines, as well as setting up the right platform. After that, you can start with your process as follows:

Note
There is no template available for this. Instead, you should use the Integration Assessment capability within the SAP Integration Suite.

The process gets started by the integration requestor, who specifies the integration requirements. Afterward, they contact the integration developer. The two then work together on the integration scenario and API list, which is an accelerator of SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology. This is where the technical and business requirements are defined in detail and aligned. The SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology framework also assists in identifying the integration domains, integration styles, and use case patterns. After that, you can look at the decision tables for the technology mapping to find suitable integration solutions.

The next step is to decide whether your technologies meet the integration requirements or not. If not, you have to go to the Integration Center of Excellence and ask for help and guidance. You might be able to continue using your existing integration technologies or, in the worst case, you may have to get new integration technologies. If they meet the integration requirements, then you have to decide whether this is a simple integration scenario, where you can implement integration scenarios as a citizen integrator, where you can easily implement an integration scenario in your business area on your own, or if it is a complex integration scenario, where you need to create an integration flow (iFlow), for example. If this is the case, the integration developers have to take care of it.

If a customer now wants to set up an API and integration governance framework, for example, it might look as follows:

In SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology, you can find some templates that can be applied for setting up your governance process for integration developments.

With these concepts, SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology can help your integration developers find out which integration technology and which approach best fits your company based on the integration best practices.

For more information, see the SAP Help Portal:

What is missing now is quality assurance. In many companies, a process for quality assurance is implemented to guarantee compliance in different phases (such as design, implement, or test) of an IT project. These also include certain standards, such as security or usability standards, as well as integration aspects. By identifying certain integration standards, for instance, introducing integration governance, SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology helps you to support the quality assurance measures in your company.

Looking closer into the quality assurance measure, process testing is an essential part of it. Also, here, your integration developers should apply the general testing approach. The approach can include different test types such as unit, integration, and regression tests and techniques (performed manually or automated).

Common Test Types

The following table shows you some common test types that are performed:

If a customer wants to set up an API and integration governance framework, for example, it might look like this:

Test typeDescriptionExample in an integration context
Unit testingVerify the functional correctness of individual software modules. Test are conducted by the respective developer.
  • Testing connectivity (configured APIs, connectors)
  • Testing mapping programs
Integration testingVerify the interfaces between components against a software design.
  • Testing of an integration scenario
  • Testing of replication batch jobs
Regression testingFinding defects after a major code change has occurred. Specifically, it seeks to uncover software regressions, as degraded or lost features, including old bugs that have come back.Retesting existing integration scenarios after the upgrade of an integrated business application

If you are considering to add an integration quality checklist to your existing quality assurance process, SAP already provides a template for such an integration quality checklist, which is intended to complement, but not replace, the classic integration test processes in an organization.

Note

Performing this step is not supported by the Integration Assessment capability within SAP Integration Suite.

For more information, see the SAP Help Portal: Ensure Integration Quality Assurance | SAP Help Portal

Summary and Key Takeaways

Integration is becoming increasingly important in the everyday life of companies. To handle this, and to help you to foster the integration part, the SAP Integration Solution Advisory Methodology framework supports you in defining an integration strategy and helps you to implement it in your company.

It is divided into the following 4 phases:

  • Assess your integration strategy.
  • Design your hybrid integration platform.
  • Define integration best practices.
  • Enable a practice of empowerment.

These phases serve the purpose of anchoring the integration strategy into your organization, so that the integration can run smoothly.

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