Systems integrators—every security executive has used one. To some they are merely ‘installers’ who conform to a specification; to others they have targeted expertise that can add value to the specification and the implementation; and, in some cases, they are seen as strategic partners. In the latter definition, they have learned how security is advanced within their organization and how it is valued. As a result, they are consulted early in the planning process.
If we fully delineate the term ‘systems integrator’ we can see opportunities and weaknesses in how we leverage them.
‘System’ implies a collection of technical subsystems. Individually they each have value. Within that process are people with definitive roles, whose performance is measured individually as well as collectively (through the many roles in a process). The subsystems are only as good as the integrity and value of the process and the roles.
Bolster the definition with action
‘Integration’ involves piecing together each of these subsystems. But to do this efficiently, the integrator should be given or should help define the process and roles that will be justified by the time and cost of the integration. As well, if the IT organization has a technology architecture for the organization; a framework that defines the standards by which ‘systems’ (software and hardware) are evaluated and implemented, this becomes the means by which the integrator evaluates the introduction of a specific new subsystem and how it should be ‘integrated.’
Note: Up to this point, the integration is defined through the lens of a product and its introduction into the organization’s existing information architecture.
In next month’s column I will explore the emerging definition of integration; a definition that will not be easy to implement, but could change the value proposition for the entire ecosystem.
Ronald Worman is the founder and managing director of The Sage Group.