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Originally published 2 March 2009
Most business-critical initiatives within large enterprises include some key requirements around data integration. The success of these initiatives requires delivery from a structured and process- driven, integrated data organization.
As a result, many enterprises worldwide have been establishing data integration competency centers to leverage value in terms of improved productivity, enhanced service quality and reduced cost. Hence, the data integration competency centers (DICCs) occupy a key position in the strategic initiatives of organizations.
Upon the creation of DICCs, data integration has increasingly become a centralized function. Thus, business/technology groups are now engaging the DICC to obtain data integration services.
Due to centralization, the success of the DICC is heavily dependent on effective and timely engagement by the business/technology groups across the enterprise. For the business/technology groups to effectively engage the DICC, understanding the value in obtaining services from the DICC is an imperative.
In this article, the key challenges around DICC engagement and the characteristics of the value proposition statements are discussed. Also, the article defines a framework for articulating the value of the DICC.
Typically, a competency center is a horizontal focus group engaged by all the business/technology groups within the enterprise, It is not uncommon to see resistance from these groups while engaging the DICC.
The challenges described in this section are focused on engagement by the business/technology groups. This section will not discuss other challenges such as the people, technology or processes internal to the competency center.
Some of the key challenges faced by the DICC include:
A clearly articulated value proposition can help dispel misconceptions and facilitate effective engagement.
The key characteristics of a value proposition are:
Working with the DICC or center of excellence (CoE) provides many benefits, such as:
For the value proposition to be effective and complete, it is important that these benefits are understood and detailed from the perspective of the various stakeholders within the organization. The benefits of engaging the competency center can be realized at three levels: the project team, the business group (LoB) funding the initiative and the enterprise.
Figure 1: Levels of Stakeholders
The stakeholders that can leverage the benefits of the competency center are:
Using the primary inquisitives of what, how, when and why is a key tool to help conduct thorough analysis.
Figure 2: Questions Used for Value Articulation
The definition of the questions facilitating the value articulation are:
|What||What does each of the value additions mean for the stakeholder?|
|How||How does the value addition benefit the stakeholder?|
|When||When will the value be realized? It could be be short, medium or long term. The definition of short, medium and long term must be understood and documented to facilitate communication.|
|Why||Why should the specific stakeholder be interested in the value addition?|
To facilitate the process of understanding/detailing the value additions to the various stakeholders, it should be documented in a matrix along the same lines as the enterprise architecture depiction model proposed by John Zachman in the “Zachman’s Framework.”1
This matrix would have the stakeholders on the Y axis and the primary inquisitives on the X axis. A sample un-populated matrix is depicted in Figure 3:
Figure 3: Matrix
The matrix should be filled for each of the value additions from left to right for each stakeholder. When filling out the matrix, it is critical that the information provided is specific to the organization, and examples or scenarios used should highlight the point being made. The key message is that the individual stakeholder should be able to associate with the benefit/value addition.
In the process of completing the matrix, if any of the aspects can be quantified in terms of reduced cost or effort, it should be noted. However, the process of quantification is relatively more complex. Some of the possible methodologies used for this purpose are:
It is recommended that a brainstorming session be conducted among the key individuals within the competency center (sponsor, architects and managers) when filling up the various cells of the matrix. Please note that the value proposition could be identical for multiple stakeholders.
The process of value articulation should not be considered a one-time activity. Instead, it is imperative that the value proposition be upgraded based on the enhancements being made to the competency center. For the value proposition to be complete and effective, it is critical that the value proposition is assessed and updated on a periodic basis.
The DICC is a key component of every organization’s technology capabilities. The framework provides a structured approach for articulating the value proposition. As well, the process of detailing the value additions from the perspectives of each of the stakeholders (with examples) helps to make the value proposition complete. The value of a populated articulation matrix can be the key contributor for any discussions with prospective customers on why they should engage the DICC.
1. Zachman’s Framework – http://www.zachmaninternational.com/index.php/home-article/13#maincol