Case Study: Enterprise Integration Capability
Business Aspect and a Health Services Provider Develop an Enterprise Integration Capability
A lack of an integration capability for a health services organisation made it difficult for the business to accommodate new technologies. An assessment of organisational capabilities and market offerings was required, to identify and plan the ideal outcome.
For any organisation, integrating new technology is essential. Recognising that manually integrating new technologies would significantly limit future capabilities, the client sought expert advice to build a roadmap to identify the right integration platform. The customer adhered to strict procurement requirements, determining the submission from Business Aspect, a Data#3 company, was best aligned with their needs.
The health services organisation required:
- A clearly defined path for introducing an enterprise integration platform, informed by an objective, quantifiable capability assessment of the current state
- A skills gap assessment, detailing existing skills in the organisation against future skills required
- Detailed business and technical requirements of enterprise integration, across the organisation
- A conceptual integration platform architecture that delivers the business requirements, including data sharing with other agencies
- A comprehensive market assessment, narrowing the field to three integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) vendors
- A costed five-year business case to assist with executive decision making
The customer’s staff and workforce highly depend on technology to support patient outcomes. With the rapid evolution of smart devices, such as connected defibrillators and wearables that record vital information, Business Aspect Principal Consultant and Engagement Lead, Steve Sherwood, knew it was important for the company to prepare an IT environment that presented a solid foundation for future technologies.
“Their core focus was on the capabilities they need to support an integrated patient journey, from the initial call, through the incident following through to the referral pathway, and any transport between facilities. Integration is the foundation of achieving those services.”
The organisation did not have an enterprise integration platform, instead it relied on its internal IT team to spend time creating integrations manually. This limited what was technically possible and practically achievable, given the available in-house resources and skills. Trends in the technology sector highlighted the need for a clear way forward
“One of their major drivers was that integration was complex to deal with and, like so many organisations, the company was undertaking a move towards the cloud. We identified a number of challenges utilising cloud technology – they have been using point-to-point, but the upcoming move to cloud highlighted that it was more complex. The main reason for seeking a partner to engage with was to get guidance on how to transition to a modern digital foundation,” explained Sherwood.
While the organisations’ team could envision a desired outcome, determining how to reach that future state required highly specialised expertise. With that realisation, the company knew it was imperative they seek outside expertise and find a partner experienced in planning for enterprise integration in complex environments.
“The project was about capturing, articulating and designing what integration capability might look like in the organisation. Many organisations don’t have a lot of expertise in this regard. We knew we could help them prepare a business case to take forward that included a roadmap. With a business case and roadmap, the company has a clearer understanding of what investment is needed in terms of integration and the opportunity it represents. Today’s technology is increasingly complex, and organisations can’t be expected to be experts in everything,” said Sherwood.
The customer considered several key factors before enlisting Business Aspect. They valued the real-world experience of the consultants, the fact that only senior experts would be involved, and the continuity of the Business Aspect relationship and organisational knowledge, having delivered several complex consulting projects previously. As a trusted partner, it was necessary to have worked on similar projects in large, complex organisations in order to fully comprehend the customer’s needs.
“Business Aspect was able to understand the constraints faced within their business, especially the physical constraints of their internal resources,” said Sherwood.
“We needed to ensure they had the right type of strategy and tools to help along their journey. This was not just an academic exercise – we took considerable time to understand not just the technology aspects, but what would be the best fit for the organisation, then distilled it to a suitable outcome.”
Business Aspect gathered business requirements through a series of discovery workshops and informal discussions. In order to establish a clear starting point, the IT team worked closely with Business Aspect to ensure access to the right staff.
“When Business Aspect undertook workshops, we worked closely with their internal teams to ensure the right stakeholders were consulted whilst minimising operational impact. It is important that we maintain a good relationship with an organisation throughout the project. This helps us not only ensure the customer is informed and up to date, but also so we can source and validate information as needed,” said Sherwood.
The capability assessment involving an honest self-assessment, and with an objective view of the current state, Business Aspect set about deriving the organisation’s detailed integration platform requirements. Working closely with seven key stakeholders, the consultants incorporated a number of significant related projects already planned or underway. As with many engagements, Business Aspect tailored its tools to the client’s unique situation. The assessment was built by merging multiple industry-recognised frameworks including the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), Open Service Integration Maturity Model (OSIMM) and proprietary and proven Business Aspect methodologies, to create a specific capability and maturity assessment. Relevant legislation was consulted, along with a number of related industry and legislative policies. From this, a picture emerged of the organisation’s proposed future state.
“They operate within a very dynamic emerging environment and needed to gain capability within their data using existing information to drive business intelligence, to then inform future clinical process,” outlined Sherwood.
“We needed to identify the most appropriate integration platform to make that future state possible.”
By comparing the desired future capability with the capability assessment, and aligning the company’s requirements with capability areas, Business Aspect consultants developed a capability gap analysis. Remediating capability gaps was conducted in stages. Throughout the capability review, progress was presented to the team, for validation and additional input.
“Business Aspect would regularly meet with the key stakeholders to review progress – to validate that their direction was appropriate and in line with the organisation’s thinking. There was much discussion around the maturity model in particular,” said Sherwood.
Business Aspect worked through a process of reviewing potential enterprise integration architectures against business and technical requirements. After collaborating closely with the stakeholders, the consultants were able to collate vendor integration platform offerings to six potential candidates. Three met all mandatory requirements, and were further validated by their dominant position in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service (“Enterprise iPaaS”). Subsequently, a shortlist was finalised.
“This phase was about seeking specialist advice from the market and interpreting that advice in a mission critical manner. Business Aspect was able to help by offering that level of specialised involvement by utilising our highly skilled and experienced consultants,” said Sherwood.
External vendor offerings were not the only considerations. Reports delivered by Business Aspect also assessed potential outcomes should the company leverage an integration platform implemented within a partner agency, or if the customer was to make no change, and continue with manual integrations.
“The organisation knew at a very high level what was needed, but needed a certain depth of knowledge to support that and determine the best path to delivery across the right people, process and technology combination,” explained Sherwood.
What We Achieved
Business Aspect developed a roadmap and business case in close collaboration with the client, outlining yearly funding requirements over a 5-year horizon.
“A lot of foundational IT is difficult to substantiate to executives so they can make an informed decision. The business case prepared provided the breadth and depth of information the Executive team needed to make informed decisions and understand the benefits, risks and outcomes,” said Sherwood.
“It is important to understand, with any financial decision, the merit of funding one particular capability against another. The roadmap meant the customers can be confident in how the vision is achieved in pragmatic, manageable steps, with checkpoints to validate further progress is justified.”
For organisations in the health industry, their employees are passionate about serving the community to the highest possible standard. Increasingly, technology plays a key role in ensuring this outcome for their patients. This means the company’s IT team must always be planning ahead and creating new foundations for future technologies.
“Working with Business Aspect means the customer has a current state assessment and looked holistically across the organisation to determine what supports their future state vision. Integration is vital to reaching that state, and the roadmaps supports this,” said Sherwood.
Choosing a partner with the desired level of experience and technical capability featured prominently in the decision-making process. By engaging senior experienced consultants and working through a structured process to determine the tailored roadmap, the customer has reduced the risk associated with establishing and operating an integration capability.
“We were able to bring a depth of knowledge and experience, including subject matter, industry and relationship, that delivered recognised value to the organisation. Through now possessing a skills gap assessment, conceptual architecture, market assessment, roadmap and business case, the organisation is well equipped to quickly execute whilst minimising cost and risk.”, concluded Sherwood.