Citizen Integrators are often overrated. Indeed, we’ve already given you 7 reasons how. However, even if citizen integrators are not a perfect solution, it doesn’t mean that they are redundant. We can see two good reasons why every company needs a citizen integrator. Read on to learn how you can harness the strengths of this role.
Citizen Integrators in the history of technology
The implications of the issues discussed in our post iPaaS: 7 Reasons Why Citizen Integrators Are Overrated, are not only limited to the current discussion around citizen integrators and the iPaaS world of yesterday, today and tomorrow. A look back in history tells us that easier access to new technology, processes and services has seldom actually fulfilled the expectations placed on these. This is particularly true when the issues to be solved require a certain skill-set.
Some years ago, trade press and companies were getting all excited about Big Data. They heaped praise on new processes and software intended to help employees glean valuable insights from their company’s mass of data. These insights, so it was said, would lead to innovation, competitive advantage and significant cost savings. This led to a lot of new agencies springing-up, and established companies including these services in their solutions toolbox.
These days, the articles on big data have dried up and the insights companies may have gained from this have not lead to any fundamental changes. Instead, there is a growing number of reports on substandard or failed data projects. This is in no way intended to suggest that data science or big data are useless or irrelevant. A number of companies have profited from them. There does, however, seem to be a growing awareness that dealing with this data requires a lot more than simply granting employees data access and giving them certain programmes. It requires specially-trained staff who need to both understand data science and their specific area. Ideally, although this is a negotiable area, they need to be familiar with data-harvesting software.
From a marketing perspective, hype can be explained as a way to quickly raise product/service awareness among your target audience. Many companies and journalists, however, tend to underestimate the danger caused by the heightened expectations of hype. These can lead potential customers, already disappointed in the product, becoming even harder to reach. It’s therefore worthwhile treading carefully at the beginning.
How should the company prepare for integration services?
One important insight from the preceding discussion is that companies who are planning to use an iPaaS need to first realistically evaluate the in-house resources available. This may lead them to avail themselves of support from an external iPaaS provider from the very beginning to save themselves unnecessary effort, stress, and expense.
It may be advisable to choose an iPaaS provider who offers a number of managed services that complement iPaaS. In this case, the iPaaS provider would also be responsible for most of the development, testing and deployment of integrative solutions, as well as the associated support. There is an entire available, all the way to
In most cases, a company would only need to appoint a liaison officer to communicate with the iPaaS provider on the protocols, formats and other specifications they need. Alternatively, a suitable iPaaS provider would be able to provide professional support for employees working on integration issues in their own business area, such as providing a dedicated service manager.
Two ways you can benefit from citizen integrators
Even though the role of a citizen integrator has its weaknesses, this doesn’t mean that it’s redundant. In the following, we’ll look at two scenarios which can harness the strengths of this role:
- Citizen integrators take on simple integration tasks in the company
- Citizen integrators are supported by experts for more complex issues
Simple integration tasks can be solutions requiring no or very little thought needed on IT architecture, data security or data protection. Or, they could be solutions developed and tested in a sandbox environment (e.g. test client). The in-house IT department, potentially supported by an external iPaaS partner, could even create a company framework for these types of tasks.
For more difficult tasks, the in-house IT department, an external iPaaS partner, or even both, could work closely with the company’s citizen integrators, actively supporting them with their questions. It would also be advisable to involve citizen integrators in discussions on company strategy and long-term business goals.
A strategy which consciously involves developing and advancing the citizen integrators has advantages beyond IT. Staff who are actively involved in planning integration solutions tend to feel empowered, which increases their sense of responsibility, their motivation and ultimately their performance at work. Furthermore, professional mentoring ensures that integration projects remain strategically relevant and are seen through to the end. Ultimately, this could all help safeguard the long-term competiveness of both the company’s IT set-up and the company itself.
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Written by: Dr. Martin KuntzDr. Martin Kuntz has worked for SEEBURGER AG since 2000, and is a member of the Board of Directors since 2015. His strengths lie in the Cloud, business applications, and the digitalization of specialty and technical business processes. He has degrees in physics and business administration. Earlier, he worked for several years in the Simulation department of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology and for Airbus subsidiary Airbus Defence and Space.