Technology Leaders Club Whitepaper

Whitepaper | Leave No-one Behind: How to Unlock Your Entire Digital Ecosystem

Once data is entered and can then be connected safely, securely, and quickly everywhere – you have in place the foundations of integration and the beginning of the “integrated experiences” journey.

If only it were that simple. Data readiness, user engagement, and the unified platform are vital to delivering an integrated experience and will become critical to an organisation’s survival. The businesses that will thrive in an increasingly digital and connected society are the ones building a modern tapestry of integrated experiences.

We invited a group of IT directors, digital heads, chief data architects, and program managers to discuss their experiences with integration, and more about:

  • The challenges of implementing an “integrated experience” strategy
  • Establishing a data-first culture
  • The role of self-service data and simplifying connectivity
  • What it means to be “totally integrated”

Rela8 Group’s Technology Leaders Club roundtables are held under the Chatham House Rule. Names, organisations and some anecdotes have been withheld to protect privacy.

About Boomi

Boomi is at the forefront of helping people and systems connect, break down silos and build resilient businesses. Boomi’s mission is to connect businesses’ most critical data with its cloud-native, unified, open and intelligent platform. Boomi’s integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is trusted by more than 20,000 customers globally for its speed, ease-of-use, and lower total cost of ownership.

As the pioneer of fuelling intelligent use of data, Boomi’s vision is to make it quick and easy for customers and partners to discover, manage and orchestrate data, while connecting applications, processes, and people for better, faster outcomes.

A new model

As organisations adopt digital approaches to building new models, more and more businesses are understandably moving to the Cloud. Some are repositioning themselves as Cloud only, others are embracing their legacy and working around it. One thing that is true of all businesses leveraging new technologies is that integrating your various systems is never as simple as it might initial seem. With everything from endpoints, new product developments, and disparate data sources to consider, orchestrating them in a way that delivers value across the organisation is of key concern to many modern businesses.

Implementing integration

At the core technological level, integration isn’t necessarily that difficult to achieve. There are lots of tools and technologies that exist to enable integration and the Cloud provides the ability to quickly prop up a centralised data source. However, a successful integration is one that integrates teams as well as technology. People are traditionally used to working in different teams, each with their own objectives. One of the key challenges when establishing integrated systems and ways of working is finding a strategy that can cater to the different needs of each group within the business.

While technology is important, focusing only on the technical elements of integration is a shortcut to failure. Integration is as much about people as it is about technology and there needs to be a cultural alignment with the business goals. Organisations need to approach integration with a blend of technology and people if they want to implement a productive data strategy.

Part and parcel with people are processes. It is common for businesses to bring their existing processes into new digital environments without a thought to how they might need to change. For example, the end-to-end development process can no longer function in the same way if integration means that releases and updates now stand to impact other parts of the business. In this instance, the business needs to clearly define their end-to-end process, bring in the individual teams for their insight, and when everyone has agreed upon the process, then bring in IT and technology solutions. It’s all too easy to become convinced that once a new IT solution is implemented that all problems will disappear, but they won’t if the root problem is with the process.


To ensure large scale data organisation projects are successful, businesses need to be driving the ideas of data governance, data democratisation, and good data literacy. By taking a people, process, and culture first approach, businesses can set out these fundamentals, establish executive ownership, definitions, terms, and language. A good measure of an organisation’s data-culture is when teams are held accountable for the data they own and questions like ‘where does the data sit’ and ‘who owns it’ have clear answers.

Part of establishing a data-first culture is the education on the value of data throughout the business. Start from the top and work down by bringing in key business stakeholders into the conversation. Invite them in for IT reviews, build that common language that they in turn can use when communicating with other business arms. Some organisations have even seen success by hiring sales team members to sit within the IT teams to explore and disseminate the value that IT and data can bring to the organisation.

Language and education are both essential for creating a business culture with data at the core of every process, but as well as that, how the organisation measures success needs to shift as well. To incentivise staff to be more data-driven, make good data practices and the success of data projects key metrics of performance. With increased data literacy, organisations can lean more on ideals of data democratisation. By making data available to everyone you empower your staff to self-service their data needs without specialist intervention.

Self-service data

It is every IT and data experts dream to be able to provide a data catalogue that they can present to the organisation. Unfortunately, with businesses often having multiple different data sources, challenges with data literacy, as well as compliance and regulatory issues, it’s an incredibly difficult task. To make it easier, it is always important to consider the value behind the project. Does the business need a complete catalogue all at once, or will it better serve the business to prioritise the data that provides the most value?

Providing all available data to everyone looks good on paper, but it is crucial that there is a business strategy for implementation in place first. Proper security needs to exist to ensure that data bound by strict regulatory requirements isn’t available to everyone and this starts with effective identity access and data encryption and anonymisation.

Again, a key element to the success of any self-service data provision comes down to data culture and literacy. Self-service makes perfect sense, but without adequate training and governance, self-service data programs can quickly go to waste. Users are the consumers and producers of data, therefore empowering them to manage it should be a given, but they need IT teams to provide the policies, governance, and education.

“Totally integrated”

On the road to being “totally integrated”, it is important to remember that trying to integrate too much too fast can often lead to more problems being created than you’re solving. More is always nice, but first businesses need to ensure that their internal processes are working. Approach other teams with empathy and try to understand why things are done the way they are and work together to establish better processes that work for everyone in a new integrated environment. You can establish clear value by starting with the most critical business elements and data, the ones with the clearest use-case for integration. After that, expand on a project-by-project basis, slowly creating the foundations for integration.

Once “fully integrated” organisations can move beyond ideas of cost-cutting and efficiency. The true value of integration isn’t simply to optimise data and efficiency, but rather it allows business to focus on growth and innovation. In today’s business landscape, the ability to leverage integrated business systems to offer better experiences is what will determine whether a business thrives or is outpaced by the competition.

Staying competitive

One thing is certain for businesses looking to embrace a digital future, be it integrated or otherwise, it will never work without an evolving culture that places data literacy and governance at the heart of the business. There is immense value to be found in data and the technology exists to extract it, but only so long as people know what value they are trying to extract and why.

With data at the heart of integration, many businesses have a long way to go in terms of governance, data visibility, and the provision of a single source of truth. Fortunately, an entire ecosystem of tools and organisations exist to help organisations manage their data and enable smoother integration. With integrated thinking, alongside promoting data culture and self-service data models, businesses can begin being truly data driven to ensure they thrive in our digital world.

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