CEOs and department secretaries talk about enterprise performance. When speaking with IT professionals, they talk enterprise integration. What's the difference? Answering this question takes considerable explanation, although in so doing, we can introduce some perspectives that will ultimately permit our readers to appreciate the focus on smart data to which we are headed.

Enterprise Integration

There are two principal definitions on the Web, for instance. One says that enterprise integration (EI) “is the alignment of strategies, business processes, and information systems, technologies, and data across organizational boundaries.” We discussed this with electronic magazine publisher guru Bob Thomas, who had a magazine called Business Integration Journal. He changed the name to Align Journal, emphasizing that alignment of IT strategy and enterprise strategy is essential to optimizing performance. We subscribe to this idea.

Another definition of enterprise integration “refers to internal coordination processes among different core activities.” The first definition expresses a more external and global view, while the second definition is more inwardly focused. The trouble with inwardly focused enterprise integration is that the result is often stovepiping.

What is wrong with stovepiping? It adds extra costs and often results in islands of automation that require extra effort, ranging from manual intervention to extra programming ...

Get Smart Data: Enterprise Performance Optimization Strategy now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.